Copyright © 2013 by Mark Booth from The Sacred History published by Atria Books, a division of Simon & Schuster, Inc.
'God save us from single vision.’ ~ William Blake
There are people living amongst us who can see the world of angels as clearly as they can see the rocks and stones and trees that the rest of us see. These people have many names, some of them rude, but here we shall call them mystics.
Sometimes they live and work within organized religion, but more often they live apart. They tend to be solitary, perhaps lonely figures.
Organized religion has always found mystics a bit of a worry. If you’re a sincere, hard-working priest, who prays for faith but worries in his heart of hearts that he has never really had a mystical experience worthy of the name, it must be hard if a few miles down the road there’s a young woman who talks with angels all day long. How can you defend the Church’s dogma with confidence when you suspect that others have direct personal experience of realities you only know about in theory?
It goes without saying that atheists are hostile to mystics too. For them, visions of angels are simply delusions. I’m only too aware that if certain psychiatrists of an authoritarian bent got hold of some of my friends, they’d try to have them certified as schizophrenic.
In the face of such hostility, one common misunderstanding needs to be cleared up: the mystical vision is not necessarily inconsistent with the scientific view. Mystics aren’t calling into question the evidence of our eyes. They’re not even saying that life isn’t happening in the ordered way that science describes. What they are saying is that events are happening because angels and other spiritual beings are planning them. Because they’re working behind the scenes to make them happen.
How do they know this? Sometimes mystics see only what we see – the physical world. Sometimes they enter a visionary state in which the physical world fades from view and they see only the spiritual world. At other times they see the two worlds interweaving. A mystic may see an event with their two physical eyes – such as a mother deciding to double-check the seatbelt that holds her baby’s car seat in place – while at the same time seeing the same event with a third, more spiritual eye. From this perspective the mother’s guardian angel is at her shoulder prompting her to turn and look again, because the clip isn’t safely clicked into place. As she does so, the baby’s guardian angel smiles with gratitude and is illuminated with the brilliant clear blue light of understanding.
What the third or spiritual eye sees may lie outside the physical world, but that isn’t to say that it is inconsistent with what the two other eyes see. Rather, it opens up a new dimension that weaves in and out of the physical world.
It’s important to bear this double vision in mind as we come to consider the creation. Here, mystics and scientists are, I believe, looking at the same series of events. They are merely looking at them from very diiferent points of view.
If you turn to Chapter 1 of Genesis in the Authorized Version of the Bible, the sequence of events is as follows:
And God said Let there be light ... Let there be a firmament ... Let it divide the waters from the waters ...Let the dry land appear ... Let the earth bring forth grass ... Let the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life ... Let the earth bring forth ... the beasts of the earth ... Let us make man...
If you strip out the poetic language, what is this describing? It is a sequence in which subatomic particles (‘light’) are followed by gas (‘firmament’), followed by liquids (‘the waters’), solids (‘dry land’), primitive vegetable life (‘grass’), primitive marine life (‘the waters bring forth abundantly the moving creature that hath life’), land animals (‘the beasts of the earth’) and finally anatomically modern humans (‘let us make man’). Looked at this way, Genesis is consistent with the modern scientific view.
Atheists who want to discredit the biblical account of creation always point to the idea that it took place in only seven days. But the Bible clearly never meant to say that the world was created in seven days in the modern sense of the word ‘day’, because a day is the measurement of the revolution of the Earth in relation to the sun, and in the beginning neither Earth nor sun existed. In Genesis the word ‘day’ must mean some vast unit of time like an aeon. Genesis is giving an account of events before time as we know it was measurable, perhaps before it even existed.
So, what’s the problem? Why the bad blood? Because Genesis says that God planned this sequence of events. He meant creation to happen and made it happen. He said, ‘Let it happen,’ and saw that it was good.
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