The Word of St. John
Angus Hawkins – 2010
Anthroposphy challenges many conceptions considered by modern day science to be the truth. This is not the same as saying it disputes the facts on which much of the scientific world view is based. As Steiner points out numerous times in his over 6000 lectures, it is modern day science’s interpretation of the facts that are lacking and it is Anthroposophy’s mission to view these facts from a spiritual science perspective and thereby arrive at a more complete truth. This spiritual science perspective when exercised properly gives a deeper understanding of human life and the surrounding world and as such is more truthful than a natural science which only concerns itself with physical phenomena. What is more it makes us feel truly human.
The Gospel of John is a work of great spiritual depth and even though it is one of the four gospels in the New Testament it is not uncontroversial. This is amongst other things due to apparent similarities with Gnostic teachings, which are considered heretical by many Christian thinkers. There are also questions concerning authorship which are not unproblematic. Despite these reservations John is still generally considered by Christians to be the most profound of all the gospels. This presentiment of immense spiritual depth that many people have concerning the gospel of John is a feeling that is fully justified from an anthroposophical world view. Here I will attempt to awaken both a feeling for and understanding of some of the profound concepts, in particular the concept of the logos, which if taken to heart can have a deeply transformative effect on a person’s life. The transformative powers of the first 14 verses of John’s gospel were known to the Rosicrucian schools of the middle ages. Consequently those training to attain initiation for direct vision of the spiritual world were instructed to meditate on these 14 verses at the same time of day every over a long period of time. This was part of the process of cleansing the soul bodies so that then spiritual world could reveal itself to the pupil. By developing our thoughts in this area we will be able to better understand why it is no exaggeration to state John’s gospel is one of the most magnificent and significant pieces of writing in the history of mankind.
John 1:1: In the beginning was the word (logos), and the word was with God, and the word was God.
When trying to fathom the meaning of this sentence much is made of the fact that “logos” comes from the Greek meaning “word”, “wisdom”, or “reason”. Whilst there is no need to dispute the meaning of the word “logos” itself the concept can be deepened immeasurably. So that it is possible to read this one sentence and feel a connection with the whole development of the human race past, present and future. A bold claim, yet reasonable if we truly begin to understand the deeper meaning of the word “logos”. What then lies behind this word “logos” that justifies its importance for John at the beginning of the gospel?
Let’s try to recreate a feeling for the depth of this word so that we as readers might also utter these words and feel a deep sense of holy awe rather than them sounding like an abstract thought chain that does not even begin to move us or stir up deep feelings of connection and purpose.
It is important to start with a thought experiment that will be the basis of some later far reaching conclusions. Consider how a person who sees a house, especially if it is not his own, seldom reflects on the fact that before the house existed there were builders who built according to building plans and that prior to the plans there must have been the thought of a house. That is to say first there was a thought, this thought then required several phases (discussions, plans, building phases in appropriate order, decorating etc etc) before the final desired outcome could be achieved, namely the house to live in. If we are reminded of these facts we have no problem in accepting the fact that a thought or combination of thoughts (idea) always precedes a house. These thoughts are continually referred to during the process and adaptations are made according to need. This truth, that a thought precedes a product, is true for cars, computers, chairs indeed for all manmade products without exception. Even non-functional products, poor performing products and not yet existing products obey this law. Namely that before a product can come into the world it must be preceded by a thought, it must first exist as a thought. In this sense all manmade products are concrete evidence of thoughts, they are thoughts materialised, thoughts with physical clothes on. The objects created in this way then over varying lengths of time succumb to nature’s forces and decay and crumble leaving no trace of the thought. All manmade objects are thus transitory, they come into being from an invisible source and ultimately return there. Thus far I doubt if there is any straight thinker who would disagree with the thrust of this description.
This perspective on thoughts is very different in character to the popular scientific conception that thoughts are not real, but simply the human interpretation on the firing of neurons in the brain. Instead we are establishing that thoughts indeed are very real as they are the foundation of every manmade object. For completeness’s sake it should pointed out that the author sees this firing of neurons as the means by which we can gain consciousness of thoughts, thoughts reflect themselves in our brains. Mainly the source for these thoughts is internal, but it can also be external. Thoughts exist independently of the physical brain in the same way that a radio or television does not produce its content, but are required to make the content visible and audible. More of this later as I am already jumping ahead of myself.
What then of the natural world around us, does it have the same relationship to thoughts that we established for manmade thoughts? Can we draw the same conclusions when we look at the living world of plants around us? Here it is more difficult accept the truth that we established for manmade objects. In this not knowing the origins of these plants it is no longer obvious that everything was preceded by a thought. Indeed it is far from obvious that a (living) thought (idea) preceded the living trees, flowers and grasses that we see spread out before our eyes as we walk through the countryside. It is here that we as human beings meet with the boundaries of our knowledge. We no longer have a clear answer as to the principles involved. Furthermore because we have come up against the boundaries of our knowledge we also find that people can no longer agree 100% as to the origin of trees, flowers and grasses. The clear insight that we arrived at for manmade thoughts is not as obvious. Consequently we have essentially two models to explain what we see in the living world around us.
- Trees, flowers and grasses are a product of randomness (random genetic mutation in Darwinism terms) which after coming into being are then governed by the laws of evolution (no mentioned is ever made as to the origin of this intelligible law).
- Trees, flowers and grasses were like our manmade products preceded by thoughts (the origin of these thoughts is then attributed to other non-incarnate thinking beings).
The randomness solution above (1) which dominates the western scientific mind is in character identical to the theological concept of the “Unknowability of God” that was so prevalent in the Middle Ages or to the Kantian concept of the impossibility of knowing “das ding an sich” (the thing itself). By hiding behind the word “chance” natural science liberates itself from the need to find deeper lying origins of the physical world. It states simply that we cannot know what is behind normal sense perception. Instead it contents itself with the belief that all that is knowable is to be found in the physical world and can be measured. From this standpoint anything not visibly perceptible is not real, it is merely speculation or fantasy. This guard against fantasies of the mind is of course a valid objection, however, there is still little understanding for how this safety guard bars science knowledge of deeper underlying causes and origins. In the word’s of Ernst Lehrs scientific inquiry is a one eyed colour blind observation. From this standpoint only physically observable phenomena have validity. Scientific critical thinking has achieved many amazing insights into how the world works to give us a technical superiority that is breath taking. Many praises could be sung about the value of natural science, but that is not the purpose of this article. We can call this randomness point of departure the “outer stand point”. (I have not forgotten the logos here, I am laying the groundwork for an understanding of it that might be believable and logically consistent)
The thought solution above (2) proposes that what is true for the manmade world is also true for the natural world around us. It clearly identifies that behind every natural phenomena there is a thought or string of thoughts which then form an idea (Platonic). These thoughts exist independently of the physical world, but nevertheless we find evidence for them in the sense world. People who have undergone extensive spiritual training are able perceive such thoughts directly without needing the medium of the physical world. From this point of view thoughts are real and sometimes these thoughts materialise so that there is a sensory perception left as evidence. Is there any evidence then that can support this notion that behind all trees, flowers and grasses exist different thoughts. Can we find a point of departure that convinces us that thoughts lie behind the living natural world? And can this conviction feel as strong as when we deduced the rule that all manmade object presuppose a thought as seen with the “thought-building plans-builders-house” chain? We can call this the “inner stand point”.
This author proposes a definite yes to the above questions. Yes such a point of departure can be found and yes (with training) we can have the same certainty. However, like the incremental process of becoming a mathematician, musician or biologist there are certain foundational abilities that have to be in place before this insight can be directly experienced. Neither the mathematician, musician nor biologist can excel in their respective fields without extensive training. There are many such processes (of varying quality) for getting behind physical perceptions. One such process for gaining these foundational abilities is described in Steiner’s “How to achieve knowledge of the higher worlds”. There are indeed many other exercises which have been taught for millennia in initiation centres, East and West throughout the world which could lead to such foundational abilities . The seed exercise given in Steiner’s book is, however, particularly instructional as it directly linked to our pursuit of experiencing the living thoughts behind the natural world. It is also this seed exercise which can bring us closer to both an understanding and rudimentary experience of what John meant with the logos at the beginning of his gospel.
In the exercise we shall allow a seed to grow in our mind. For this to be effective we must be scientific, truly scientific, in our observations and actually study the unfolding of life from a seed in normal everyday life, with our normal day senses, particularly eyesight. We are then to use these pictures to make a mental film of this process of development. This requires practise as we are usually not used to determining the content of our thoughts without the crutches of the physical world and it is consequently a lot more difficult to remain focused. If we persist in this exercise many many times (feeding ourselves time and time again with the evidence of our senses) so that eventually it has become relatively easy to play this mental film in our minds then new experiences add themselves to this film. These new experiences seldom add themselves without effort from the thinker. Instead a feeling of mystery or simply not understanding seems to give the best results. Asking how something that has been observed can happen is a good start. For example how must the sap flow so that a small bud can grow into a full sized leaf. How must it flow so that it builts on the existing. How must it flow so that the definite pattern of a leaf is retained. How must it flow when a bit is destroyed. How does it know when to stop growing and form its final edge. What is happening when a leaf starts to wilt. What system of forces must exist within the plant to make all the observed growth possible. By starting with such questions and letting the leaf unfurl in your mind new living pictures come to mind about how this is possible. It should be noted these are not ones deliberately induced, but instead by-products of the exercises and as such should regarded as perceptions in the same way that objects, music or atmosphere can induce feelings. One of these perceptions is a feeling that can only be described as growth and it fills the body. Words describing the accompanying sensation include for the author expansion, tension, movement, forceful, restricted amongst others. This is a very definite sensation and is as intimately connected to the experience as for example coldness is to ice or taste is to a strawberry. This sensation, feeling of growth can continue to ebb and flow even when the mind is slightly distracted. This feeling also is then more readily experienced when observing using eyesight. Further deepening in the process leads to awareness of some system of forces that must exist to enable the plant to increase in size. This system of forces also has to create a form of anti-gravitational force, levity, for otherwise the plant would not be able to grow upwards (critical thinking shows that capillary action is insufficient as an explanation for what is observed, nor either are genetics as they are merely the information but what is it in the plant that processes this information) These forces allow the sap to make its way to the extremities of the plant where growth is most obvious, the experience is such that it feels like the sap is being sucked to the extremities, as opposed to blown from the centre. A further observation is that within this system of forces something must also be responsible for the regularity of the growth. This force body directs growth into certain patterns and structures, sometimes stems, sometimes, flowers, sometimes roots and most magically of all seeds. This seed when planted in fertile ground will then develop in exactly the same way as the plant it came from. This process can be further deepened so that it is possible to see the force body (etheric/life body,) but even prior to this stage of direct vision it has become clear to the observer that some form of life body must exist. Another accompanying insight is that the only reason that we did not see it before was that we have been more focused on the product of the life body, namely the flower that is perceivable to the senses. In this sense this life body has the same characteristics of a thought, namely it is invisible until it dons material clothes. By going through this process (not just theoretically but in practise) of deeper reflection we have arrived at the same conclusion we arrived at concerning the house, namely that it was preceded by thoughts. This means that we also favour explanation number 2 , namely the thought solution rather than randomness.
By means of a similar deepening process we can also arrive at the conclusion that animals and human beings were preceded by a complex array of many thoughts that similarly unfurl themselves over periods of time. We might even deduce the existence of non-physical beings, beings without a physical presence. In John’s gospel we meet with the thought, logos, that underlies the whole evolution of planet earth and mankind. In the word “logos” John by identifying it at the beginning of the gospel he is also telling us that he has experienced the thought that was the seed to the earth’s existence and all the life that exists upon it. If as John, the author of the book of revelations’, claims he has witnessed this original thought then it would also be reasonable to expect that he can reveal things about the future in the same way that anyone can predict how a process will develop if he knows the underlying laws (thoughts). If we believe John then he knows this logos and therefore his predictions have validity, just as a full understanding of the constellation of thoughts (idea) of the plant enable us to make predictions about how it will grow in different environments. Before we look at the content of this thought as it reveals itself in the gospel and other parts of the Bible let us consider it in relationship to our seed experiment.
In the seed we identified the life body which contains all the information and forces necessary to transform a thought into visible reality. That is, all the information and forces that can turn something normally invisible into something visible. John has this same relationship in mind when talking about the logos. The logos (Jahveh Elohim ) is the mighty seed which created the earth. Christ is the most complete expression of what that seed wanted to mature into. Each and every one of us can be as gods (Genesis 3:5 & John 10:34 – 35), we have the divine spark within us, the seed like ability to become a true fruit of the logos. So now let us look at what it is that the logos would have us be if we choose that destiny of our own free will?
Let us then try in very broad strokes to create an image of what this logos has been historically. First a quick analogy then in more detail to the question of what was the master plan of this logos? We will look at this from 3 vantage points. Judaism, Christianity and Spiritual Science.
The Analogy: Imagine you are speaking to someone. When you do this your vocal chords, mouth, tongue and teeth set air in motion in certain patterns, technically speaking the air oscillates like a wave. This is the information that our ears then convert back into sound and that sound is processed so that we extract meaning from it. If there were no air we would not be able to hear each other because the medium is missing. We might not be able to hear people screaming in the vacuum of space but we can hear each other on air filled earth. If we were able to freeze that air instantly we would actually be able to see the wave forms, the physical expression of our very words, our words incarnate. Our thoughts, which shaped our speech have thus been made visible. Theodore Schwenk has some wonderful pictures in his book “Sensitive Chaos” which shows tones captured in smoke which also capture the formative nature of sound. The shaping force of sound is also beautifully captured in Chladni figures. Many video have been uploaded on youtube.com. Try putting “chladni patterns” or figures in the search box to view some amazing results
The Master Plan: Going back to 4100 thousand years to ca. 2100 B.C Abr(ah)am the father of the Jewish people was after meeting Melchizedek entrusted with the Abrahamic convenant. In this covenant God/YHWH determined to call out a special people for Himself through whom He would bring blessing to all the nations and Abraham was to be the father of this bloodline. This blessing to all nations was the promise of the Messiah (anointed one). Circa 600 years later this covenant was updated when Moses led the Jews out of Egypt. The four last books of the Torah, Exodus, Leviticus, Numbers, and Deuteronomy are a detailed account of this covenant and the resultant law of Moses. A central moment in this drama spanning 600 years is when Moses speaks with God/YHWH on Mount Sinai. It is here that YHWH reveals his name. God calls himself the “I AM”.
But Moses said to God, “Who am I, that I should go to Pharaoh and bring the Israelites out of Egypt?” 12And God said, “I will be with you. And this will be the sign to you that it is I who have sent you: When you have brought the people out of Egypt, you will worship God on this mountain.” 13Moses said to God, “Suppose I go to the Israelites and say to them, ‘The God of your fathers has sent me to you,’ and they ask me, ‘What is his name?’ Then what shall I tell them?” 14God said to Moses, “I AM THE/THAT/WHO I AM. This is what you are to say to the Israelites: ‘I AM has sent me to you.'” 15God also said to Moses, “Say to the Israelites, ‘The Lord, the God of your fathers-the God of Abraham, the God of Isaac and the God of Jacob-has sent me to you!’ This is my name forever!”
On the surface this might seem an unremarkable name and the fact that translators cannot make up their mind about whether the correct translation is I AM THE I AM, I AM THAT I AM or I AM WHO I AM further muddies the waters. However, a significant truth is hidden in this sentence that brings us a step closer to characterizing an element of the nature of the logos. We can sum up the picture so far for ancient Jews. YHWH is going to send a saviour to heal mankind and YHWH means I AM. We could re-word this to say that YHWH is the principle that gives us individual consciousness, the ability to experience I AM, consequently he calls himself I AM. Combining these aspects we get the idea that the saviour of the world is intimately tied up with individual consciousness and therefore self-awareness.
For the Jews YHWH was the unutterable name of god. Merely saying the word YHWH in those distant times would have shaken a soul in a way that we no longer experience today. To understand why this was the case we need to consider two issues which are both related to blood. That is the Jewish blood which is the means by which the Jews experienced their God. First we shall look at memory and secondly the feeling of belonging that is so dominant in a Jewish soul. Looking at the memory issue first. Our memory is intimately linked to our blood. In societies where interbreeding is the norm there is a lot stronger feeling of a memory that goes beyond what was personally experienced. In earlier societies interbreeding was the norm and the further you go back in time the stronger was this tendency to marry within the blood. This is predominantly due to the general nomadic way of living that was so widespread then and meant moving around in smaller clusters of people. The early Jews especially were nomadic and hence the tribes kept generally to themselves with little inter marriage. This is very different from the cosmopolitan world we live in and consequently difficult to imagine. The modern day expectance especially in the Western world is that you marry outside the blood/family. This was a very foreign concept to earlier mankind. Whilst Judaism does not allow the marriage of certain close blood relatives it does expect Jews to marry within the blood. Why is this? One very important reason was because of memory. Modern day man believes that memory has always worked in the same way that we experience it today. That is to say, memory generally starts to appear when we are 2-3 years old and is linked to being able to speak. However, the facts are very different. In earlier times, Steiner tells us in various lectures, human beings experienced their forefathers through the blood. In those times an individual could experience memories of things that never happened to that individual, that is to say they could know of things that had happened to the blood, to the forefathers going back many generations. This was a true living family memory that makes much sense of the deep reverence that all ancient peoples had for their forefathers. This type of memory also enables us to give a plausible explanation for the extreme old ages of some of the Jewish patriarchs. The old testament tells us that Methuselah lived until he was 969, Jared 962, Noah 950, Adam 930, Seth 912, Kenan 910, Enos 905, Mahalalel 895, Lamech 777, Shem 600, Eber 464, Cainan — 460, Arpachshad 438, Salah 433, Enoch 365, Peleg 239, Reu 239, Serug 230, Job 210, Terah 205, Isaac 180, Abraham 175 etc. etc. What the Torah is trying to tell us is that it took 950 years before direct memory of Noah disappeared from his lineage, from his bloodline. One piece of evidence supporting this fact is that the longest ages are in general from the earliest patriarchs, i.e. from a time when marriage with close blood relatives was more common as was the close nomadic lifestyle. This also gives us a premise for understanding why marriage outside of Judaism is considered wrong. Thus blood was vital, from a Jewish perspective, for maintaining contact with forefathers and the Jewish mission of being the bloodline for the saviour of the world. A mission that had been given to them by the highest god, YHWH. This is also the reason for the two genealogies in the Gospels of Luke and Matthew tracing the blood back to Abraham and Adam respectively. This blood connection was clearly connected with a direct experience of God and therefore a sense of both purpose and belonging for Jews. This brings us to the second issue mentioned above concerning blood, namely belonging or unity.
A sense of brotherhood and belonging exists in all religions and it is particularly strong within Judaism. The memory of shared forefathers and the reverence which is given to the patriarchs created a strong feeling of belonging within Judaism. The Jewish feeling of spiritual continuity within Father Abraham went to a depth few can experience today. This strong sense of blood belonging whilst it furthered the purpose of unity was also fundamentally in conflict with the god YHWH (I AM). The Jews from the beginning have worshipped the highest god, yet this god is the impulse of self-awareness a god of individuality. I use the word impulse in the same sense that Greek or Norse gods were perceived as the givers to mankind of the gift of music, art, speech, fire etc. Although this perspective is regarded as naive from a modern standpoint it is fully in line with how ancients experienced the development of new human skills and faculties. Modern godless science can of course not accept such a position and therefore creates its own fantasy accusing the ancients of being anthropomorphic and overly imaginative. If, however, we take the ancients at their words then they experienced that they received these gifts from higher beings. I will return to this issue when looking the logos and Spiritual Science. The Jews had a similar perspective and forbade the worship of lower gods or idols. For the Jews YHWH was an spiritual impulse for the betterment of mankind which stood above all these other gift giving gods because YHWH was to impart on mankind amongst of things the gift of self-awareness, consciousness of self, the highest gift that could be bestowed on mankind. This is why the term “highest god” is used in Genesis when Abraham receives his godly mission from Melchizedek. However, YHWH the “unutterable” name of god is both the sense of purpose yet also fundamentally in conflict with the Jewish sense of belonging. How is this so? Essentially we have a blood principle trying to maintain strong bonds between the members of the Jewish folk yet the god they worship is the god of individual awareness. Seen in this light it is also understandable why god’s name was used so sparingly, indeed in earliest times it was only allowed to be uttered by high priest on particularly holy occasions and blasphemy was punishable by death . To utter the name of god was similar to an act of driving a wedge between people, tantamount to advocating social disintegration or destruction of the “Father Abraham and I” feeling. It is counterintuitive to believe that if somebody has identified the highest god then s/he will refrain from using that knowledge to invoke him in times of need, unless of course it is forbidden by society. So why should such a potent force’s name be forbidden. Certainly social disintegration would seem like a very powerful argument for restricting the use of this powerful word. We can compare this to the very common practise in pre-Christian times and later when the invocation of different gods or spiritual forces was very common place in all societies and the naming of the respective god was a prerequisite for gaining those spiritual powers.
The mystery of blood is intimately linked to revelations of the intent of the logos, the godly plan from a Christian perspective. Christ replaces the law of Moses with the commandment Mathew 22:36 “Thou shalt love the Lord thy God with all thy heart, and with all thy soul, and with all thy mind. This is the first and great commandment. And the second is like unto it, Thou shalt love thy neighbour as thyself. On these two commandments hang all the law and the prophets.
Summarizing what has been said so far the picture becomes: The Jews united by blood were to bring the impulse of self-awareness and individual freedom to the world. This was a pre-condition for love to enter the world. However, true love cannot be limited by blood relations. Christ as the highest embodiment of the logos had the mission of developing the impulse of love for all people irrespective of ethnicity, a love outside the shackles of blood. The spiritual medicine that Christ wanted to administer to the world was the message of love for one another. Here again most readers will intuitively understand that if we all truly loved one another then all that is bad in the world would soon be corrected. In this sense Christ would be the saviour of mankind.
Christianity asserts that this message of love is at the centre of the Christian message. However, we only have to look at how split the Christian churches are, how much hate of foreign religions exists within those churches and of course all the wars, massacres and murders carried out in the name of Christianity to understand that not all those professing Christ have drunk of his medicine or they have drunk so little that is has yet to have any effect.
Returning again to the logos. What has happened over the last 2,000 years since the word (logos) became flesh. According to Christian’s the saviour has come. Whilst the author also holds this to be true what many Christian’s fail to understand is that the Christ impulse must continue to work for many more thousands of years before we can say we have truly reaped the fruits of the coming of this impulse. Christ was the logos made flesh and this seed like impulse planted 2,000 years ago still has a long way to go before civilization can truly experience just how the saviour has saved. How has this logos, this divine idea, continued to move humanity on in its development. Let us look briefly at two areas of significant development that were predominantly born out of cultures with a long Christian heritage. When looking at spiritual science we will see why this was not a precondition, but nevertheless a significant factor in the development of the areas of equality and science.
Whether you are a Christian, of another religious persuasion or even an atheistic humanist then one of the healthiest developments towards a more humane humanity is the idea of equality, that we are all of equal value and are equal in front of the law. Without reading the history books it is easy to miss how different we are from our earlier ancestors. Let us look briefly at 2 examples: Freedom to a fair trial and slavery.
The principle of freedom to a fair trial was first established in Britain with the Magna Carter of 1215, although for many centuries it remained legally impotent. In the 13th century people decided and formulated in a charter that they were no longer prepared to accept the old ways, namely that a king had absolute power and was not accountable to his subjects. On paper for the first time people did not simply have to obey, they also had a right to a fair trial (if they were citizens of London). The king or his men no longer should be allowed to simply seize corn , wood or land without due compensation. The kings officers now (in theory) had to have moral standards to be eligible for the post they were to fill. All undoubtedly significant improvements. As noted the signing of this charter did not instantly make people equal. However, this process of becoming equal has become stronger and stronger. It has grown from a seed like thought into something truly marvellous compared to the historical backdrop. Clearly true equality still has many more areas to grow into, but just like the house at the beginning of this article, certain building blocks have to be in place before the next step can be taken.
Another area where the impulse of equality has been stark is slavery. It was only in 1807 that the Atlantic slave trade was abolished in the UK. The Vikings stopped their slave trade in the 14th century and the Catholic church spent 7 centuries arguing about whether slavery was morally permissible. Finally, well almost, in 1537 a papal bull made a clear statement forbidding it. This was generally only accepted as valid for Christians and it was first in 1839 that the Catholic church issued the unequivocal papal bull outlawing slavery, long after America, UK and France had abolished the practise. It is certainly a tragic irony that God’s interpreter seemed to have more difficulty than most understanding the Word (logos). Today the slave trade in the form of workers or prostitutes is considered by most as morally wrong and by many governments as illegal. How long will it take before the political will and the will of the people is so strong that even this form of slavery no longer exists? From this articles presentation of what the logos is this question could be worded like this: How long will it take for us humans to make visible what the logos planned many aeons ago as a healthy development for mankind? What is it that stops people from allowing this impulse to work ever stronger in society and the world?
The logos and science. It might seem strange to use science as evidence for the further development of the logos. After all are not science and religion 2 irreconcilably opposite world views. For most people they are with science usually stating that the physical world is the only world and all talk of spirits and gods is puerile fantasy. Religion, on the other hand, usually stating that we are God’s children and we should simply believe to be redeemed and then life will be perfect in the afterlife. It is, however, possible to see scientific critical thinking as in intermediary step on a development curve. Most people educated in the Western world perceive this curve as starting with ignorance and then suddenly within 400 short years since the inset of the scientific enlightenment arriving at the highpoint at which it is now. We will consider another curve later on. What is clear, however, is that the scientific way of viewing the world has the goal of leading us to ever greater understanding of the world. The scientific method leads us closer to true picture of the world. The scientific mind looks at the evidence, uses this evidence to create models which explain the behaviour. These models are refined further over time moving us closer and closer to a true representation of the world and all its phenomena. Honest science is all about searching for the truth. And this is the link to religion as it also claims to be able to tell us the truth. The logos has according to John a clear impulse to lead people to the truth. Then you will know the truth, and the truth will set you free. This common striving will naturally bring science into ever closer contact with religious content when the scientific establishment eventually relinquishes the ever more untenable position that only the material world exists and instead affirms that the spiritual side of reality is a real world that has a direct impact on the physical world. The thought experiment we performed earlier with the plant is an indication of the way in which future scientists will have to re-skill themselves if scientific thinking is to continue to be healthy impulse in society. Science itself has undergone many evolutions. A particularly noteworthy one was the shift from a Newtonian world view to the Quantum world view. In layman’s terms science learned from observation that the world was a lot more complex than the clockwork model supposed by Newton’s observations. Indeed it realised that the timeless and spaceless quality of the world of quantum mechanics, which has always existed, was completely unknown to them and required totally new models to make sense of the observed data. Just using the words “timeless and spaceless” already make it sound religious in character. In biblical speak these words would probably have been something like “eternal and oneness in God”. With such immediate similarities it is no wonder then that few materialist scientists take the full ramifications of quantum theory to heart, for it challenges the materialistic world to the core. It is also for this reason that literature on this subject is popular with New Agers. Science knows at its core, but not at its many extremities, that the atomic world view is only a model for understanding and consequently that other models are needed to fully describe observations in the physical world. Science as it is understood today still has a lot of evolving to do and in the final part we will look at how the logos will continue to deliver its impulse and help humankind gain ever deeper truths about the world around us.
The Logos and spiritual science (Gnosticism). Every impulse in history has to have its forerunners. It is an unfortunate but nevertheless accurate statement to say that truthfulness is no guarantee for acceptance. Indeed the more shocking the truth the more vehemently it is usually fought by those that are not able to understand and by the powers of establishment. Consequently the first scientists, scientists with revolutionary breakthroughs, anti-slave traders and human rights activists were vilified. Sometimes it took decades and other times centuries before the forerunners of these impulses gained popular acceptance. Spiritual science is similarly predestined to suffer the same type of attacks that all forerunners do, most especially so because its precepts are so radically different from the prevailing truths of most people’s way of viewing the world.
What is it then that is so shocking? In a nutshell a spiritual scientist wants to bring the scientific rigour to the world that religion tries to describe. This creates 2 clear types of potential detractors. First there is the average natural scientist who gets incensed at the idea that the spiritual world (world of living active thoughts) even exists let alone that one should try to describe and research it. From the other side there is the average believer that does not want critical thinking brought bear on his or her faith either for fear it will be destroyed or because s/he already believes s/he possesses the whole truth. The spiritual scientist sits in the middle of these two might pillars with unshakeable belief that the invisible world behind the physical world is knowable and should be known. A truthful knowledge of this world requires a scientific approach to gaining knowledge. Furthermore any spiritual scientist that is on the same level of development as another spiritual scientist will concur completely when describing this world. This happens in exactly the same way that there are levels of understanding in all fields of learning and especially the sciences. The 33 degrees of freemasonry (this number can vary) are actually a reflection of this truth though in a corrupted form as the degree now predominantly describes the status or wealth of a freemason in a particular order rather than his level of spiritual development on a global scale. Freemasons are indeed in a very loose interpretation of the word spiritual scientists. They believe in a supreme being, have metaphysical ideals, use rituals to try to invoke higher powers and try to gain a better understanding of this other world. It is also interesting to note that freemasonry attracts people of all religions but especially Christians, Jews, Muslims, Hindus, Sikhs, and Buddhists. This ability to disregard religion yet still believe in a supreme being with its many helpers is part of the reason why organized religion discourages membership.
In the beginning of this essay we looked at the “inner stand point”. The majority of people understand their religion from the “outer stand point”, from the documents regarded as sacred by that religion and these people penetrate the texts with varying levels of understanding. However, within every religion there is an “inner stand point”, the esoteric church. That is to say that through intense spiritual training, praying, meditating and fasting individuals can have direct experience of the truths of their holy documents in the form of visions, audio revelations and dreams. Referring back to our thought experiment with the plant and how we discovered a body of forces that must exist to explain what the eye sees so also does a spiritual scientist through meditation on the content of religious documents break through to an underlying reality. The spiritual scientist no longer sees the documents but the forces responsible for the origin of the documents. So just as the plant is evidence of an invisible force so also are the holy texts evidence of invisible forces. However, for the advanced spiritual scientist these invisible forces are no longer invisible instead they are directly perceivable and s/he talks about them in terms of spiritual facts. These spiritual facts then express themselves in the outer world. And in this sense it also is a direct experience that powerful spiritual beings are the forces behind the individual’s and society’s development or decay. John’s gift to mankind as the first initiate of Christ was to identify that the gods (YHWH Elohim) that created earth and life in the first chapter of the old testament had, by incarnating as Christ in the body of Jesus at the baptism in the Jordan, given the impulse for the full meaning or purpose of earth: namely to develop mankind into a world of individuals possessing free will and capable of true love for one another and full insight into the spiritual world.
Together we have over many pages tried to gain a small grasp of what the logos meant for John. If we weigh each word in gold and take them absolutely literally but with a more complete understanding of the background John is working from then it is possible to read John 1:1-14 and feel a sense of holy awe, a sense of connection with the most powerful healthy forces in human development. This feeling can be intensified through repeated meditation and then it really can begin to have a transformative effect on our lives.
1 In the beginning was the Word, and the Word was with God, and the Word was God. 2 He was in the beginning with God. 3 All things came into being through Him, and apart from Him nothing came into being that has come into being. 4 In Him was life, and the life was the Light of men. 5 The Light shines in the darkness, and the darkness did not comprehend it. 6 There came a man sent from God, whose name was John. 7 He came as a witness, to testify about the Light, so that all might believe through him. 8 He was not the Light, but he came to testify about the Light. 9 There was the true Light which, coming into the world, enlightens every man. 10 He was in the world, and the world was made through Him, and the world did not know Him. 11 He came to His own, and those who were His own did not receive Him. 12 But as many as received Him, to them He gave the right to become children of God, even to those who believe in His name, 13 who were born, not of blood nor of the will of the flesh nor of the will of man, but of God. 14 And the Word became flesh, and dwelt among us, and we saw His glory, glory as of the only begotten from the Father, full of grace and truth.
According to the Torah, Jews should not intermarry because their children will turn to other religions. “You shall not intermarry with them: do not give your daughters to their sons or take their daughters for your sons. For you will turn your children away from Me to worship other gods…” (Deuteronomy 7:1-3).
Genesis 14:18-20 And Melchizedek king of Salem brought forth bread and wine: and he was the priest of the most high God. And he blessed him, and said, Blessed be Abram of the most high God, possessor of heaven and earth: And blessed be the most high God, which hath delivered thine enemies into thy hand. And he gave him tithes of all.