Scientific discovery of Spiritual Laws given in Rational Scientific Revelations. TheisticPsychology.org

Leon James, Professor of Psychology
University of Hawaii
leon@hawaii.edu
2006
 

Selection from Theistic Psychology Web site:
www.soc.hawaii.edu/leonj/theistic/ch5.htm#extraction-illustration

 

Extracting Theistic Psychology From Sacred Scripture:
An Illustration
with AC 3778

 

In the following passage of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture the literal sense discusses a historical event, a conversational exchange that took place at a well in Palestine between one of the patriarchs called Jacob and a few "droves" who were about to water their sheep. The snippet under analysis is recorded in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture: "And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5]

 

We will do a twofold analysis and examine the layers of hidden content of Divine Speech as it enters our conscious natural mind through the external senses when we read the written sentences of Sacred Scripture. The most external or bottom layer of Divine Speech as laid down in the Old Testament Sacred Scripture, in this instance, consists of a question a man addresses to other men waiting at a well in a desert of Palestine where the sheep are watered: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? Jacob is asking about his father's cousin and uncle who are from that area, and possibly known by the men at the well. All these details are historical facts and there appears to be nothing holy or Divine in them, in and of themselves. But this is only a surface appearance, not the objective reality of what is actually there, hidden in this snippet of Divine Speech laid down in the literal sentences of the Old Testament Sacred Scripture.

 

Why do we call this snippet "Divine Speech"?

 

First, because of the principle that every word, sentence, and feature of Sacred Scripture is Divine Speech laid down in a natural language, and is describing or explaining something for the natural mind in which we are aware and think. God wants us to know some principles that will assist us in character reformation. Everything God says to the human race has to do with that general subject, namely, the principles of character reformation. Why? Because that's what we are here for on earth tied by correspondence to a physical body. We cannot change our character after we are resuscitated and begin our life in eternity (see Section xx). So you can see why it is so desperately important that God get through to us with Divine Speech so that we may know how to succeed in our character reformation.

 

It is therefore a deep puzzle to all of us, why God is talking about ordinary historical events and conversations that happened thousands of years ago. Why is God not talking to us about theistic psychology -- the mind's anatomy and how it develops, and how it works, and what we can do to influence and manage our mental operations every day throughout our childhood, adolescence, adulthood, and old age. Why is God not talking to us like a Divine Psychologist, which He is (see Section xx). The answer is that He is talking to us about theistic psychology subjects! In order to see this, we need to analyze the sentences of Sacred Scripture and access the various layers of meaning that are hidden within it.

 

These inner layers are clearly discussing theistic psychology and reveal the facts and principles people need to know in order to effect a successful program of character reformation. This will then allow them to abandon the character they inherited and practiced in culture and society, and to start living, feeling, willing, thinking, reasoning, and behaving from a new character, an reformed character, a new self. Whereas the old self is hellish, the new self is heavenly (see Section xx). When we are resuscitated and begin our life of immortality, we choose for our consciousness to dwell in the upper parts of our mind called the heavens, or the lower parts called the hells of our mind. This free choice is dictated by our ruling love or highest ranked affections and delights (see Section xx).

 

To obtain this vital information from Divine Speech we must enter into the spiritual layers of the literal sentences in Sacred Scripture. The Writings Sacred Scripture reveal and demonstrate the method of analysis that must be used in order for it to yield genuine information as opposed to bogus information. The Writings Sacred Scripture state that  this method must be used exactly as prescribed in the Writings Sacred Scripture, or else the results cannot be genuine.

 

This method will now be illustrated in two steps. First, we look at the literal explanations given by the Writings Sacred Scripture of this passage in the Old Testament (about Jacob's question), which will illustrate how the Writings follow the method when analyzing Old Testament sentences. Second, we will apply this same method of analysis ourselves to the sentences of the Writings. This is why it's called a double unfolding of Divine speech laid down in Sacred Scripture. The first unfolding is to see what lies underneath the sentence in the Old Testament ("And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor?"), and the second unfolding is to see what lies underneath the explication sentences in the Writings (see Section xx).

 

Quoting from the Writings Sacred Scripture: (emphases added)

 

AC 3778. And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5]

That this signifies, Have they the good of this stock? is evident from the representation of Laban, as being the collateral good of a common stock (see n. 3612, 3665); and from the representation of Nahor, as being that common stock from which is the good represented by Laban; that "to know," in the internal sense signifies to be therefrom, is manifest from the series.

 

How the case is with the representation of collateral good by Nahor, Bethuel, and Laban, shall be briefly stated. Terah, who was the father of three sons-Abram, Nahor, and Haran (Gen. 11:27), represents the common stock from which come churches. Terah himself was indeed an idolater, but representatives do not regard the person but the thing (n. 1361). And because the representative Jewish Church commenced in Abraham, and was renewed among his descendants from Jacob, therefore Terah and his three sons put on the representation of churches-Abram the representation of a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word; but Nahor his brother the representation of a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word.

 

That the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and that it exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity, is manifest from what has been shown here and there concerning the Gentiles.
 

[2] This therefore is the reason why by Nahor, his son Bethuel, and Bethuel's son Laban, there is represented the collateral good of a common stock, that is, the good in which they are who are of the Lord's church among the Gentiles.

 

This good differs from the good of a common stock in the direct line of descent, in this respect-that the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but most of them are external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses; for these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened. In its essence indeed good is only one, but it receives its quality from the truths implanted in it, and thereby becomes various. The truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths are in general that they should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it, and so long as they live in the world they do not know that this God is the Lord; also that they should adore their God under images, which they account holy; besides many other things.

 

Nevertheless these things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor; for thus in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths (see n. 932, 1032, 1059, 2049, 2051, 2284, 2589-2604, 2861, 2863, 3263).

This shows what is here meant by the collateral good of a common stock. That by Nahor are represented those out of the church who are in brotherhood by virtue of good, may be seen above (n. 2863, 2866, 2868); that by Bethuel is represented the good of the Gentiles of the first class (n. 2865, 3665); and by Laban the affection of external or corporeal good, and properly the collateral good of a common stock (n. 3612, 3665).

 

[3] With this good the case is that first of all it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good, for it is external corporeal, and is grounded in external appearances which in themselves are fallacies of the senses. In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, and although he is taught what internal good and truth are, still he has no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one; and because such is the first idea, therefore such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. This is the arcanum which is here represented by Jacob and Laban. (AC 3778)

 

Now we give the spiritual sense of the elements in the letter of AC 3778:

 

(1) there is a common stock from which come churches signifies there is a shared universal character ("common stock") to every human mind that acknowledges the existence of God  ("churches")

 

(2) belief in God can be based in either of two sources:

 

(I) a genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word signifies belief in God ("church") that operates with the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("genuine church")

(II) a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word signifies belief in God ("church") that operates from self-intelligence without the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("church of the Gentiles")

 

(3) the Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity signifies that the acknowledgement that God exists ("the Lord's church") is implanted in every human being ("is scattered throughout the universal earth"), by which every individual has the motivation to refrain from hurting others and to do them good ("Gentiles who live in charity")

 

(4) people whose mind operates from self-intelligence ("Gentiles") continue to hurt others whenever they are able to justify it to themselves ("the truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine") due to false principles of morality and culture ("external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses") which do not come from the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened ").

 

(5) The belief in God produced by self-intelligence ("truths that to the Gentiles appear as truths ") motivates people to practice a cultural religion ("should worship some God from whom they seek their good and to whom they attribute it") in which they do not realize that God is the Divine Human within their mind ("they do not know that this God is the Lord") but believe God to be outside of them ("adore their God under images").

 

(6) When people are resuscitated upon death they are given the opportunity to enter their eternal heavens regardless of their religious background ("no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians") as long as they refrained from hurting others on account of their beliefs ("provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor"), since then they are able to receive the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture ("in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths").

 

(7) What gives people the capacity to acquire a heavenly character even without knowledge of Sacred Scripture  ("those out of the church")? It is the motivation not to harm others because it is against God to do so ("who are in brotherhood by virtue of good").

 

(8) Where do we obtain this motivation? ("it serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good") From our own self-intelligence and character ("external corporeal, grounded in external appearances, which are fallacies of the senses"). We can acknowledge God without knowing Sacred Scripture ("In childhood man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good"), but our level of understanding of God is then only natural and sensuous or materialistic, not rational ("no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one'), even if we are taught the rational and spiritual ideas of theistic psychology ("although he is taught what internal good and truth are").

 

(9) Although this motivation for character reformation is not yet genuine, rational, and spiritual, it is given by God as a temporary means by which the person can begin to make progress in character reformation ("such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced"). 

 

The nine elements of the passage we analyzed above can now be placed together to show the difference in meaning between the literal, and the unfolded layers of meaning in Divine Speech.

 

First unfolding of the Old Testament Scripture: And he said unto them, Know ye Laban, the son of Nahor? [Gen. 29:5], as taken from the Writings Sacred Scripture's explication of that verse:

 

There is a common stock from which come churches. A genuine church, such as exists with those who have the Word, and a church such as exists among the Gentiles who have not the Word. The Lord's church is scattered throughout the universal earth, and exists among those Gentiles also who live in charity. The truths which are conjoined with their good are not genuine, but external appearances which are called fallacies of the senses. For these Gentiles have not the Word whereby they can be enlightened, but only truths that appear to them as truths. They do not know that God is the Lord, and adore their God under images. These things are no hindrance to their being saved equally with Christians, provided they live in love to their God and in love toward the neighbor, and in the other life they have a capacity to receive interior truths.

 

Those out of the church are in brotherhood by virtue of good. This [intermediate state] serves man as a means of procuring for himself spiritual good. [These intermediate states] are external corporeal, grounded in external appearances, which are fallacies of the senses. In childhood, although he is taught what internal good and truth are, man acknowledges nothing else as truth and good, [having] no other idea concerning them than a corporeal one. Such good and truth are the first means by which interior truths and goods are introduced. (From AC 3778)

 

Second unfolding constructed by analyzing the above paragraph, as explained in the analysis:

 

There is a shared universal character to every human mind that acknowledges the existence of God. Belief in God can be based in either of two sources: Belief in God that operates with the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture, and belief in God that operates from self-intelligence without the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture. The acknowledgement that God exists is implanted in every human being, by which every individual has the motivation to refrain from hurting others and to do them good.

People whose mind operates from self-intelligence, continue to hurt others whenever they are able to justify it to themselves  due to false principles of morality and culture which do not come from the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture.

 

The belief in God produced by self-intelligence motivates people to practice a cultural religion in which they do not realize that God is the Divine Psychologist within their mind, but believe God to be outside of them. When people are resuscitated upon death they are given the opportunity to enter their eternal heavens regardless of their religious background, as long as they refrained from hurting others on account of their beliefs, since then they are able to receive the Doctrine of Truth from Sacred Scripture.

What gives people the capacity to acquire a heavenly character even without knowledge of Sacred Scripture? It is the motivation not to harm others because it is against God to do so. Where do we obtain this motivation?  From our own self-intelligence and character. We can acknowledge God without knowing Sacred Scripture, but our level of understanding of God is then only natural and sensuous or materialistic, not rational, even if we are taught the rational and spiritual ideas of theistic psychology. Although this motivation for character reformation is not yet genuine, rational, and spiritual, it is given by God as a temporary means by which the person can begin to make progress in character reformation.

 

From this parallel layout of the double unfolding it is easy to see how the content of Divine Speech changes as we extract the inner layers of the sentences of Sacred Scripture. You can see that as the unfolding proceeds, the explication gets longer. The Old Testament verse contains 12 words, while the explication of it in the Writings takes 228 words, and its explication in theistic psychology takes 324 words. You can also see that the content of Divine Speech as we move closer to it towards God, is strictly about how our mind works and how we should apply this knowledge to our character reformation, by which we prepare our mind for heavenly life in eternity.

Note that the procedure described here for the benefit of scrutators does arrive at the spiritual sense of the phrases in the letter of the Writings, but this cannot be considered as genuine Doctrine until it is confirmed by the letter. I have done this informally and know that it holds up, but it needs to be done formally and with care.

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