Stardust: A Finely Tuned Universe (Polkinghorne)

Hello Stardust,

In this post, I ask you to consider three points: 1) we are made from explosions of stars; 2) the universe may be finely tuned and intricately designed; 3) there is an intelligible structure of the universe, which makes prayer possible.

Here are some passages for you to consider, on these points, from an essay by John Polkinghorne, a physicist and theologian.

And for more, read: his essay, John Polkinghorne, SO FINELY TUNED A UNIVERSE of atoms, stars, quanta & God (originally published, 1996 Commonweal).

1. We are made from explosions of stars.

On Stardust:

“The stars have another tremendously important thing to do. The nuclear furnaces that burn inside the stars are the source of the chemical elements which are the raw materials of life.”

 

“If you’re made from stardust, there’s got to be some dust from stars around for you to be made of. You’ve got to have stellar explosions.”

That means that we share the essential substance with the rest of the galaxy. When I look up at the stars, I know that we are one.

2. Regarding a finely tuned universe, consider how chance interacts with purposeful design. For instance, if you meet your soul mate, is the meeting random or purposeful? Here is another articulation of the matter by Polkinghorne.

 

“John Leslie, a philosopher at Guelf University in Canada, writes about these questions. He has written the best book about the anthropic principle, called Universes. He’s a beguiling philosopher because he does his philosophy by telling stories, which is a very accessible way for those of us who are not professionally trained in philosophy to get the hang of it. He tells the following story. You are about to be executed. Your eyes are bandaged and you are tied to the stake. Twelve highly-trained sharpshooters have their rifles leveled at your heart. They pull the trigger, the shots ring out—you’ve survived! What do you do? Do you shrug your shoulders and say, “Well, that’s the way it is. No need to seek an explanation of this. That’s just the way it is.” Leslie rightly says that’s surely not a rational response to what’s going on. He suggests that there are only two rational explanations of that amazing incident. One is that many, many, many executions are taking place today and just by luck you happen to be the one in which they all miss. That’s a rational explanation. The other explanation is, of course, that the sharpshooters are on your side and they missed by choice. In other words there was a purpose at work of which you were unaware.

 

That parable translates well into thinking about a finely tuned and fruitful universe.”

3. Concerning prayer, prayer only makes sense if there’s some correspondence between our own minds or intelligence and the structure of the world. Otherwise, how could our own intentions, which we lift to God/the Spirit in prayer, have an impact on the world?  As Einstein said, “The only incomprehensible thing about the universe is that it is comprehensible.”

For more on this them, see the Polkinghorne essay.

Jesus and Violence

 

sicily01monrealemosaic_bankers

Sicily mosaic Jesus and the money changers

Gospel of John #25

Hello Lightworkers,

John 2:15 Making a whip of cords, he drove all of them out of the temple, both the sheep and the cattle. He also poured out the coins of the money changers and overturned their tables.

John’s Gospel accentuates the violence of Jesus, in the Temple incident, as compared to the other gospels. Only John gives Jesus a whip for driving out the Temple personnel. Just as Jesus throws people out of the Temple, so later in the Gospel those who confess Jesus as his disciples are thrown out of the Jewish synagogue. The controversies between the Jesus movement and the Jewish establishment are fierce and polarized in John’s Gospel.

As to the whip, many critics claim that it is used only on animals, to drive out cattle (the sheep and the oxen), not on human beings. The grammar makes this point plain. Others maintain that the whip is symbolic of divine rage against the Temple’s corruption. Since the Greek word for whip indicates a scourge of small cords, some minimize the actual damage that such a diminutive implement could cause.

As Malachi 3:1 describes, with the advent of the expected Messiah (who is Jesus Christ according to this Gospel), the Lord will descend upon the Temple to make it a holy and worthy place for the divine to dwell.

The money changers had the job of converting the coins offered by pilgrims (from many lands) into a Jewish currency for use at the temple. They charged interest in the meantime.

If we detach ourselves from all theological rationale, which makes apologies for and defenses of Jesus, it is quite striking that the Gospels record an act of overt assault by Jesus, which would be fair grounds for suspicion by the religious authorities.

The one who preaches, “Blessed are the Peacemakers” (Matthew 5:9) also advises “The one who has no sword must sell his cloak and buy one,” while proclaiming, “I have come not to bring peace, but a sword.” (Luke 22: 36, 38; Matthew 10: 34).

For those who are inspired by Jesus’s example, how shall we handle these contradictions? and the violence (or: harshness) that is sometimes espoused?

The Wine of Joy

This post is for our Lightworker’s Study of the Gospel of John. On the left, click the folder icon, then sign up.  

John #23

John 2:1-11 (Text is reproduced at the end of this post)

Gospel of John 

Hello Lightworkers,  We move ahead to John 2, where Jesus performs his first miracle or sign (John 2:11). The Gospel calls Jesus’s miracles “signs”, which is also the Old Testament (i.e., the Hebrew Bible) term for the miracles of Moses.

At a wedding party in Cana of Galilee, Jesus turns water into wine. The water is contained within six stone jars for the Jewish rites of purification (2:6).  Note, here, that Jesus is himself a Jew. So, although the scene suggests that the new “wine” of Jesus replaces the old water of Jewish purification, in fact no super-cessionist or replacement theology is required. Jesus here is a Jewish prophet not a Christian god.

According to John, Jesus is also more than a prophet. He is the divine Bridegroom. The spiritual message, as I see it, has nothing to do with religious politics or sectarian disagreements: once the divine Bridegroom is present, enjoy the wine. You don’t need to keep purifying yourself, or waiting for the bliss to come. Religions, in general, often put people through rituals – for purification or as a means to an end, so that one will later on…meet and experience God, once one is holy enough or pure.

What if God has already arrived but we are in church so we miss it?  Drink the wine now.

The Wedding at Cana John 2:1-11
2 On the third day there was a wedding in Cana of Galilee, and the mother of Jesus was there. 2 Jesus and his disciples had also been invited to the wedding. 3 When the wine gave out, the mother of Jesus said to him, “They have no wine.” 4 And Jesus said to her, “Woman, what concern is that to you and to me? My hour has not yet come.” 5 His mother said to the servants, “Do whatever he tells you.” 6 Now standing there were six stone water jars for the Jewish rites of purification, each holding twenty or thirty gallons. 7 Jesus said to them, “Fill the jars with water.” And they filled them up to the brim. 8 He said to them, “Now draw some out, and take it to the chief steward.” So they took it. 9 When the steward tasted the water that had become wine, and did not know where it came from (though the servants who had drawn the water knew), the steward called the bridegroom 10 and said to him, “Everyone serves the good wine first, and then the inferior wine after the guests have become drunk. But you have kept the good wine until now.” 11 Jesus did this, the first of his signs, in Cana of Galilee, and revealed his glory; and his disciples believed in him.

Angels Descending/Ascending on our Behalf

Gospel of John #21

John 1:43-51 (Note that the text is reproduced at the end of this post)

Hello Lightworkers,

This scene continues the so-called “call narratives,” where the disciples are called to follow Jesus. The attitudes toward Jesus of Philip and Nathanael are contrasting. Philip immediately recognizes that Jesus embodies the very Messiah, or anointed leader (the Christ), that Jewish tradition and scriptures predict.  Nathanael, in turn, is skeptical : “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” (1:46).

Yet, when Jesus performs a simple feat of telepathy or clairvoyance — revealing that by a sixth sense, he has seen Nathanael sitting under a fig tree — Nathanael makes a sudden about-face, declaring that Jesus must be the Son of God and King of Israel. Note: Son of God was the title for the Roman emperor.

Nathanael has set his sights far too low. Jesus is appointed not merely to perform magical tricks — of telepathy or the like — nor is he merely a King, like the Roman emperor. Jesus is instead appointed to a more significant role as the Son of Man. He will open a pathway between heaven and earth, on which angels may ascend and descend.

One simple message of this passage is that heavenly things come in humble packages. In fact, our own humble attire – and vulnerability – may be hard for us to embrace and reveal to others, particularly when our needs are urgent and held closely to our hearts.

How would you like somebody to say to you, “Can anything good come out of XXXX?” where XXXX substitutes for your hometown, your workplace, or some other identifying characteristic of yourself?

Spiritually, however, to receive the Christ, who is compassion and truth, sometimes we are lowered, like servants, in the opinion of others. We may look foolish and lose our self-esteem. When others assist us — while in this humble or humiliating predicament– we receive the Christ and gain that much more faith in life itself.

Through such ordinary means and measures, heaven opens.  The angels descend and ascend on our behalf.

Text: Jesus Calls Philip and Nathanael
43 The next day Jesus decided to go to Galilee. He found Philip and said to him, “Follow me.” 44 Now Philip was from Bethsaida, the city of Andrew and Peter. 45 Philip found Nathanael and said to him, “We have found him about whom Moses in the law and also the prophets wrote, Jesus son of Joseph from Nazareth.” 46 Nathanael said to him, “Can anything good come out of Nazareth?” Philip said to him, “Come and see.” 47 When Jesus saw Nathanael coming toward him, he said of him, “Here is truly an Israelite in whom there is no deceit!” 48 Nathanael asked him, “Where did you get to know me?” Jesus answered, “I saw you under the fig tree before Philip called you.” 49 Nathanael replied, “Rabbi, you are the Son of God! You are the King of Israel!” 50 Jesus answered, “Do you believe because I told you that I saw you under the fig tree? You will see greater things than these.” 51 And he said to him, “Very truly, I tell you,[m] you will see heaven opened and the angels of God ascending and descending upon the Son of Man.”

Who me? Bible Study? : for Lightworkers

 

Religious tolerance illustrationWho me? Bible Study? : Prefatory remarks #1

Hello, Lightworkers:

(PS: I use the term “light workers,” loosely, to mean those who are allied in the pursuit to bring the light of truth, healing, and goodness to our world).

We workers in the light listen to our own guidance, while respecting the truth in whatever package it comes. We are open to diverse belief systems, and we tend to be suspicious of externally appointed authority figures and systems of rules. These traits suggest that the notion of doing a “Bible Study” may be counter-intuitive. A “Bible Study” usually means, in our culture, a group of believers, who are dedicated to studying “God’s word,” as a set of mandatory instructions for living.

How about studying the Bible, instead, with a spirit of inquiry—as we would soak up the wisdom of a respected friend? Certainly, since we respect our friend, we will not rip apart her/his words, nor will we quibble with every point. We do engage, question, and reflect upon our friend’s ideas, however, and we are free to challenge them from our own vantage point.

Such will be our approach, as lightworkers, to our Bible study, which I will be sending along, day by day.

Principle: Investigate. Test ideas, according to your inner knowing.

Be Sure to subscribe, by following (click left hand side- folder icon, then “follow”) – so that you don’t miss this Bible Study.

Note as we begin:

HI ALL, This study of the Gospel of John will last for approximately 40 days — of posts several times per week or so. After that, I may take it all down.

So Congratulations on participating in this new thing! If you prefer to receive the posts in Weekly digest form, go to the Subscription Management page on Word Press to change settings accordingly.

Be Sure to subscribe, by following  (click left hand side- folder icon, then “follow”) – so that you don’t miss this Bible Study.

 

© Lightworker Jesus 2017-2027

Neville Goddard: Jesus Christ as our Unlimited Potential

Is Jesus Christ a person of history, whom you read about in books? Or, a figure equal to God, as the third person of the holy Trinity? How about: your own creative potential? So taught Neville Goddard.

Neville Goddard (1905-1972), a new thought teacher (in his own original way), combined ideas about personal empowerment with esoteric readings of scripture.

With respect to personal empowerment, he taught a manifestation technique, whereby the imagination, by means of heart-felt desire, is capable for bringing about the good that it envisions. He learned his esoteric biblical spirituality, evidently, from one Abdullah, an Ethiopian Jew, who was also the teacher of Joseph Murphy.

His talk on Jesus Christ (1968), to which I link below (the written version), maintains that Jesus is wholly spiritual, considering Matthew 11:11 : “Truly I tell you, among those born of women no one has arisen greater than John the Baptist; yet the least in the kingdom of heaven is greater than he.” Since Jesus belongs to the kingdom of heaven, he is not born of woman. After all, “flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God” (1 Cor 15:50).

As a totally spiritual being, Jesus is equated not with a human being so much as with God’s plan for salvation. God empties himself of his divinity, in dying on the cross. In this way, God merges with human beings, in order to become the very breath of life within each of us.

Through the plan of salvation, according to Neville, God expands his creative power, unfolding himself within the individual.

Human beings should worship not Jesus the man but rather the Truth, which we may cultivate by recognizing the Christ, as our own unlimited potential.

Here’s one of his writings on Jesus:   Neville on Jesus Christ

Other References:

https://freeneville.com/neville-goddard-wiki/