Christian dogma speaks of the ascension of Christ, implying of course a vertical ascent into the heavens, and the development of the soul is often discussed in terms of direction. To progress is supposedly to ascend, while the horror of religious punishment, hell, is seen at the bottom of all things.
Development is therefore considered in a one-line direction only, in Christian terms. Seldom, for example, is it thought of in horizontal terms. The idea of evolution in its popular meaning promulgated this theory, as through gradual progression in a oneline direction, man emerged from the ape. Christ could just as well have disappeared sideways.
The inner reality of the message was told in terms that man at the time could understand, in line with his root assumptions. Development unfolds in all directions. The soul is not ascending a series of stairs, each one representing a new and higher point of development.
Instead, the soul stands at the center of itself, exploring, extending its capacities in all directions at once, involved in issues of creativity, each one highly legitimate. The probable system of reality opens up the nature of the soul to you. It should change current religion’s ideas considerably. For this reason, the nature of good and evil is a highly important point.
On the one hand, quite simply and in a way that you cannot presently understand, evil does not exist. However, you are obviously confronted with what seem to be quite evil effects. Now it has been said often that there is a god, so there must be a devil – or if there is good, there must be evil. This is like saying that because an apple has a top, it must have a bottom – but without any understanding of the fact that both are a portion of the apple.
We go back to our fundamentals: You create reality through your feelings, thoughts, and mental actions. Some of these are physically materialized, others are actualized in probable systems. You are presented with an endless series of choices, it seems, at any point, some more or less favorable than others.
You must understand that each mental act is a reality for which you are responsible. That is what you are in this particular system of reality for. As long as you believe in a devil, for example, you will create one that is real enough for you, and for the others who continue to create him.
Because of the energy he is given by others, he will have a certain consciousness of his own, but such a mock devil has no power or reality to those who do not believe in his existence, and who do not give him energy through their belief. He is, in other words, a superlative hallucination As mentioned earlier, those who believe in a hell and assign themselves to it through their belief can indeed experience one, but certainly in nothing like eternal terms. No soul is forever ignorant.
Now those who have such beliefs actually lack a necessary deep trust in the nature of consciousness, of the soul, and of All That Is. They concentrate upon not what they think of as the power of good, but fearfully upon what they think of as the power of evil.
The hallucination is created, therefore, out of fear and of restriction. The devil idea is merely the mass projection of certain fears – mass in that it is produced by many people, but also limited in that there have always been those who rejected this principle.
Some very old religions understood the hallucinatory nature of the devil concept, but even in Egyptian times, the simpler and more distorted ideas became prevalent, particularly with the masses of people. In some ways, men in those times could not understand the concept of a god without the concept of a devil.
Storms, for example, are highly creative natural events, though they can also cause destruction. Early man could see only the destruction. Some intuitively understood that any effects are creative, despite their appearances, but few could convince their fellow men.
The light-and-darkness contrast presents us with the same kind of picture. The good was seen as light, for men felt safer in the day. The evil was therefore assigned to nightfall. Within the mass of distortions, however, hidden beneath the dogma there was always a hint of the basic creativity of every effect.
There are, then, no devils waiting to carry anyone off, unless you create them yourself, in which case the power resides in you and not in the mock devils. The Crucifixion and attendant drama made sense within your reality at the time. It arose into the world of physical actuality out of the inner reality from which your deepest intuitions and insights also spring.
The race brought forth the events, then, that would best convey in physical terms this deeper nonphysical knowledge of the indestructibility of the soul. This particular drama would not have made sense to other systems with different root assumptions than your own.