The Heavens Declare His Handiwork

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Thomas Lee Abshier, ND

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"One Way" to Salvation

Salvation of Spirit vs. Salvation of Soul

Appropriate Reward and Punishment

Ultimate Reconciliation

The Necessity of Hell

Conventional Christian doctrine has held to the doctrine of Salvation by faith alone since Martin Luther.  Before that time, the church had put a greater emphasis on salvation by works.  When Salvation by Works was the predominant philosophy, the church member was always in fear for his/her salvation because of the possibility that he/she had not done enough, or had committed some sin, either purposefully or unknowingly, and had not confessed or repented and been absolved of that sin.  When salvation by Faith became the predominant protestant/reform theology, the person who has faith does not know what is the level of faith, faith in exactly what, the persistence and conviction of the faith could leave the believer in a quandary.  And, the most troubling of all the implications of salvation by faith is that "anyone who does not accept Jesus as their savior goes to hell."  

The threat of hell can reach the bones of many a tender hearted soul and even scare the occasional profligate sinner into repentance.  Thus the fear of Hell, and potential reward of Heaven can motivate many to a new life.  Often an enthusiastic new believer will change his/her life, and become a new person.  This is awesome, miraculous, and truly a testimony to the potential for God's work in man/woman's life.  But often the story has a sad ending.  Jesus warned us about this in the parable of the sower.  The temptations are too great because his/her environment and support structure has not changed.  As a result, he/she relapses back into sin and often into disbelief or rebellion.  Others will simply grow cold and show no fruit of the transformed life.  

In this statement by Jesus, we see the principle of "multiplicity of outcome ".  The universe that God has created is incredibly diverse.  The number of options and possibilities that are available in life are virtually limitless.  There are constraining factors that limit choice, and physical law is the ultimate constraining factor.  But the most powerful fact is that God does not limit our choices.  It may be possible that if mankind applies sufficient focus and teamwork toward any problem that it could be solved.  The story of the tower of Babel seems to indicate that God did not want mankind solving some problems too soon.  But in the realm of choosing philosophies, religions, paths, dharma's, disciplines, teachers, gurus, avatars, God simply allows a wide variety of possibilities, and He does not seem to intervene very strongly in preventing us from pursuing whatever doctrine we are attracted to.

This multiplicity of option is a problem because it allows everyone to choose as they will.  Most people choose based on their family origin and culture.  Some are randomly convinced by testimony or experience to change their spiritual allegiance of birth.  Each religion provides its own convincing story of either being the one true way, or declares itself to be one of many paths, but nevertheless valid.  The logic and historical research required of the spiritual seeker to determine the truth or fallacy of any particular path is at a level far beyond the normal human.  Thus, if the consequence of a wrong choice is eternal Hell, then that consequence appears to be based upon chance and scholarship.  Such a criteria seems inherently, and structurally unfair, given that humanity is naturally given to such a wide variety of intelligence and opportunity.

As a spiritual seeker, having sampled many paths, my criteria for judging a "truth path" was one which acknowledged the fact that there was one absolute "Truth", which is inherently exclusive.  But, one which was also compassionate enough to give an appropriate level of grace for those who have, with the best of intentions, but from simply heritage, or bad luck, or personal preference, sincerely chosen a path which contains a portion of the truth, but nevertheless contains error.  

As a human, my concept of fairness includes mild corrective punishment for error, severe transformational and reformative punishment for rebellion, reward and honor for consciously chosen righteous obedience to true precept, and schooling for ignorance.  While God's ways may not be our ways, I do not believe His ways should be, or nor are, inconceivable and nonsensical if we are aware of the criterion and limits under which He functions as the creator/ruler of the universe.

I had been raised with the concept of Christianity which declares that all people who have not accepted Jesus as their Lord are going to Hell.  While there is clear scriptural evidence for this stand, it is necessary to realize that there are competing, and possibly modifying statements in scripture which allow for conditions and a more full understanding of this statement of absolute black and white judgment.  

Some denominations have embraced the doctrine of "once saved always saved."  In other words, if a person prays the sinner's prayer they are saved, and can never be plucked from the hand of God.  For other denominations, God predestined the people He was going to save, and the ones that were not predestined simply didn't get chosen.  For other denominations, salvation is a process of continuing to work and act right to maintain your salvation.

The confusion and choices available, even inside the domain of orthodox protestant Christianity, is at best self contradictory, and at worst, evidence of a fatal flaw in the Christian theology.  Thus, such contradiction and confusion may be (and is) viewed by the skeptic as evidence that Christianity is "Not The Way".  The doubter could use the seemingly contradictory doctrines and confusion to simply dismiss Christianity as a valid and true belief system.  Or, they may use it as additional evidence to the "non-existence" of God.  

In other words, how could a path that is so unclear and internally self-inconsistent be the one true and only way to salvation and to relationship with the True and Living God?  It would appear that such a religion is simply another one of the confusing world religions.

One of the questions that must be answered to my satisfaction is, "How can a loving God, who loves everyone, subject people to damnation, who could not have possibly accepted Jesus by faith, because of the unfortunate circumstances in life such as: the young age of a child at their death, the religious culture of their birth, or historical era in which they were born."

In essence, conventional Christian doctrine declares that the heart of man is stained, and that only the redemptive blood, the sacrificial propitiation of Christ's death was sufficient to atone for that sin.  The implication is that all who have not accepted this redemptive offering will not be saved from the fires of hell.

It is my thesis that the Blood of Jesus was absolutely essential for the salvation and redemption of the world.  This sacrificial offering was different in magnitude than simply just saving the soul of a person who turned his life over to the blood of the cross.  I believe the sacrifice of Jesus actually was a dying into this world, and saved the destruction of the entire universe.  In other words, it was important to the individual man/spirit, but its significance was universal.  Jesus was accomplishing the finishing work of the creation by his surrender into the bowels of death.  It was only by His resurrection, that he completed the final obedient, sacrificial service to God, and His universe.

On a personal level, I believe that without a transformational experience of turning one's heart over to the righteous "Way" and "spirit" of God (through Jesus) that we have not entered into the fullness of adult intimate relationship with God.  The thief on the cross said, "Lord, remember me when you come into your glory."  He did not pray the sinners prayer.  He had not theology.  He had not understanding of the depths of doctrinal controversy and correctness.  He had no works.  But, he was accepted, "This day you will be with me in Paradise."

I believe there are levels of closeness with God.  The deathbed surrender is not without its cost.  If we raise hell all our lives, we have not "Laid up treasure in heaven.  In other words, there is a variety of available rewards, paths, and developmental routes we can take as souls.

Truly, we are children, and in our lives, we can take on all the attributes of a child, compliant, strong willed, rebellious, dependent, manipulative, etc...  But the real issue is whether or not we have put on a heart that desires relationship and fellowship with the Lord of the Universe.  If we have put on that relationship at the very last instant of our lives, we are immature, and my guess is that there is probably an effect associated with that delayed decision.  But, if we have been fortunate enough to adopt Him as our lifetime guide and counselor, as our pattern of perfection, as the law giver and judge of righteousness, and as our redeemer and protector against the sure and certain punishment for error, then there is a deeper fellowship, more authority, a more important relationship in the world to come.

I have personally accepted the evidence that the Holy Bible scriptures are historically accurate and reflective of the divine purpose and plan.  And, I have used the filter of scripture to categorize and organize my observations about life.  I realize that any belief system can be validated by the external world by simply generalizing, deleting, and distorting the data to fit the preconception.  Thus, each of us must remain open to alternate explanations, and be aware of the temptation to believe that we already have and know all truth.  Humility is a vital trait of the soul.  Without it, pride continues to build an ever expanding conceptual edifice based on self deception and error -- and it will eventually collide with reality, and fall.

Guruship entails making up something, believing it strongly, speaking it convincingly, and looking for evidence that validates this faith,  It is possible to assume the rules of life are absolutely anything you want to be True, by faith.  

Jesus told us, "Unless you come to me as one of these little ones, you cannot enter into the kingdom of heaven."  In other words, there is an aspect of the relationship with Christ which is very much polarized as a parent to child, and maturity to innocence.  But, to categorize our relationship with Jesus as only a parent and child would be incomplete.  We are told to go beyond the milk of the teaching and engage the meat of the teaching.  We are told to stop the wind and waves by our own command and faith rather than asking God to do it for us.  We are told to work until the day is done, and then be harvested like a ripe shock of corn.  Thus, we are being instructed to be mature in at least an aspect of our humanity and relationship with God.

There are many very sincere seekers of truth in the world, many dedicated monks and disciples of a wide variety of teachers, gurus, and prophets, The sincerity and dedication of many of these followers of truth cannot be questioned.  And, the fact is, that many of these alternate religions have teachings which are fundamentally similar to the Way that Jesus spoke.  In fact, there are probably people who have never heard of Jesus who live a life which is more in line with Jesus' teachings than some Christians who have accepted Jesus as their Lord, believed he was the Son of God and died for them, and came forward at a giant evangelist meeting and repented of their sins.  

There are probably many 5-12 year olds who were raised in a pagan home, and while they were not exposed to the teachings of Jesus, they nevertheless were old enough to recognize right from wrong.  And at this young age died of an accident or disease.  Do they get sent to hell to burn forever?

I believe scripture could defend the assertion that they in fact would be sent to hell to burn forever.  But, there are other scriptures which indicate that a person will be judged according to his knowledge and heart.  Thus, we are left with the possibility that a person may or may not be sent to burn in hell forever if he/she has sufficient character.

The next question we may ask to resolve the contradictory doctrines of the denominations is, "Is there a possibility of any other kind of "hell" other than a lake of fire?"  Jesus said that a person who taught wrong doctrine would be considered least in the kingdom of heaven.  This passage talks about the consequence of teaching wrong doctrine, but implied within the sentence is the concept of heaven having many levels.  In other words, there is a concept of hierarchy, layers, rank, and honor.  Jesus declared that he was going to prepare a place for us and that there were many mansions in His Father's house.  It is possible that by our own actions on this earth, as we serve, as we live right, as we attempt to live with righteousness and integrity, that we are defining the structure and fixtures of the mansions that are being built for us.  And, as a result of our efforts and fervor for the kingdom, we are with out own hands in essence creating treasure laid up for us in heaven.

The common Christian response to this difficult conundrum is, "I'm sure that God will judge each person justly."  And, I'm sure He will.  But, such a response or concept about God is unsatisfying at best, and at worst, it is a glaring hole in the Christian Doctrine.  It appears that Christendom has not been able to offer a satisfying resolution to the problem of sending to hell those who appear plausibly innocent.

A commonly accepted Christian doctrine condemns a person for not being exposed to the truth and believing the same thing their fellow heathens/pagans believe.  Clearly, "Jesus did not come to condemn the world because the world was condemned already."  So, to imagine that the pagans were condemned is obvious since that is simply the truth about their state.  Humanity is in a place of innate condemnation.  The heart of man and the heart of God are incompatible.  The two cannot relate as equals, there is no resonance and affinity for the purity/impurity of the other.  Thus, people must choose to adopt the method by which God gave or purification, of redemption.  And, it is our responsibility to engage in the process of renewal and edification of our soul and spirit, by living not just on bread alone, but by every word that proceeds out of the mouth of God.

As Christians, I do not believe we can fully quantify or specify the conditions we must meet to obtain salvation.  Each denomination has their own creed, and statement of faith. The Nicene Creed seems to me to be a generally accurate description of the broad path to salvation.  But, it does not deal well with the outlying cases and problematic issues of judgment.  And yes, God will judge, and He will do it well.  

I believe this issue is pivotal for many non-Christians who are deciding whether or not to adopt the faith or reject it.  I believe the harshness of the penalty prescribed for the unknowing heathen is sufficiently inequitable to give a person sensitive to issues of equitable punishment, doubts about the validity of the religion of Christianity.  There appears to be a pass given to the unholy "Christian who has accepted Jesus" and severe punishment to the ignorant, culturally isolated pagan who was practicing his religion with sincerity.

As Christians, I believe we must embrace a more broad reaching view of salvation.  In essence, I am asking us to adopt the mind of Christ, and take on the responsibility of judging with a little bit more fidelity the state of man's salvation -- at least in the abstract problematic, theoretical sense.  

To begin with, how can we even be sure that we have believed on the Name of the Lord Jesus Christ in the appropriate way?  Jesus says the path is narrow and few there are that find it.  Does this mean that most of us well-meaning, dedicated Christians will miss the road to Heaven because we have an error in doctrine in our theological parsing of the Word.  Or that we will go to hell because we believed incorrectly because we have read a version of the Bible which does not portray the truth of the intention of Jesus' Way in a proper manner.  If in fact the way is narrow, we should not be so glib and assured of our own salvation.

The arguments that could resolve these problem are controversial.  The foundation of the Christian belief is that we must accept Jesus as our savior to have eternal life.  The implication of Jesus being the only way is that everyone must choose Jesus on a conscious level, or else he/she will forever burn in hell.  

While the concept of establishing a real relationship with Jesus (and living out that relationship with everyone, seeing them as though he/she were Jesus) is absolutely necessary.  The concept of a hell where torture and pain are administered forever for simply being born in a remote area of the world is unsatisfying to my sense of justice.  For God to make a conscious and feeling being, to give him the opportunity to live a life of awareness and eternal life, but to condemn that conscious/feeling entity to hell forever simply because he/she was born in the Amazon in the 1400's is unfathomable to my sense of a God who is loving and fair.  

I believe it really was necessary for Jesus to die into this world for our sins, but it is possible that the symbolic and spiritual process that Jesus accomplished was more universal than we have conceptualized.  Remember, all of heaven and earth rejoiced when Jesus was crucified, died, and was resurrected.  Before Jesus died, the creation was in jeopardy of falling back into the nothingness or the Oneness of God's original state.  After Jesus accomplished this process, and from this foundation of redemption, the entire universe is now stable.  As such, in essence, we are all in the kingdom of heaven already.  

But, when we are freed from our bodies, our spirit must be contained properly.  Certainly we will not be given control of "true riches".  God's wants to give us the desires of our hearts, and each of us has spent our lives devoted to something we loved, or longing for something we loved.  We would probably be very unhappy to not have that object of joy present in our heavenly life.  The New Age concept of heaven is that we create our own heaven -- This may be true, but it must also be realized, that this "Heaven" of our own making, may actually be hell.  In other words, if we have not accepted Jesus as our Lord, we know we are not in the highest heaven.  The false guru may be there in this world, and it may in fact be a bubble universe, fake heaven.  We would not be allowed into the wedding feast of the lamb if we are not wearing the wedding garments, which is the covering and washing from the imputed righteousness of the blood of the lamb.

To deny the reality of Hell would be foolish, or at best, non-scriptural.  Clearly there is a place of torment, burning of the dross, and discarding (Gehenna).  The souls who chose to rebel against God and His way are clearly not to be envied or emulated in any way.  Rebellion it is a very poor choice when measured against the most mature and compliant standard of relationship with God.

I have met, and been the victim of some of the most unsavory of characters on God's earth.  I feel fortunate that I have survived the brutality of the attacks I suffered.  I can only attribute good fortune, chance, or God's grace to have survived these incidents.  I mention this to give reality to my thesis that some people really should be kept isolated from polite society.  And, I'm sure that God's kingdom is the most polite of all.  Some provision must be made for the caretaking of these souls during their rehabilitation.  These souls have imbibed such noxious toxins, that there will be no other possibility to quarantine the contagion and purify that person's soul.  In other words, the pain and fires of hell may actually be a purification of the soul.  Possibly it is by the fire of hell that every unrighteous trait is destroyed.  

Evil is a curse on mankind and it must be isolated from the control room of power so that it cannot harm heaven.  As Jesus said, "If you can't handle temporal riches properly, God will certainly not give you control of true riches."  I believe this implies that Heaven is the real thing, it's eternal.  In heaven you can be given power, and if you are going to be given that power, you are going to be very sure to use it properly.  A moral lapse when dealing with this level of power could cause real, eternal, significant damage to the structure of the universe.

Thus, amidst all these principles, I keep looking for an alternate understanding of the scripture, a loophole, a hidden implication that would allow this problem of extremity of the punishment compared to the offense of ignorance or honest error.

As a young adult, I chose many false religions.  I was not malicious, but I was wrong.  It was very clear to me that I was reaping the fruit of my error, since my life simply did not work very well.  All that changed when I adopted Jesus as my Lord.  Life began to actually work well.  I began to base my decisions on principles that were more "reality friendly".  

Even though I was in error, all my searching for the truth was sincere.  I was not rebelling against God in any way.  In fact, I loved God -- in fact, this period of my life was the time where I became literally emotionally touched by His Love.  Possibly I felt it because I was so far from Him, and this love was the only thing that kept me alive.  It is difficult for me to believe that I was headed toward eternal damnation, but I am glad I didn't have to challenge my hypothesis.  

Even though I wasn't a rebel to God and Jesus, the reality of it was that my character was not developing into being the man of God that I should have been in my day to day walk.  As a result I was not feeling the peace and contentment of the daily fellowship walk with Jesus.  I might not have gone to hell, but I was living a life of pain which was a hell in itself, when I could have been living a life of of solidity and confidence, disciplined and directed by His Word.

The common Christian understanding of the atoning death of Jesus is that "If God could have done it another way, He would have done it."  And, this is probably true -- it had to be done.  But does this mean that everyone experiences the most severe of punishments for neglect, ignorance, or misfortune/fate?

Again, I find such a world-view to be troubling and unjust.  I know Jesus had to die into this world, and it was required that he suffer unrighteously.  I know he taught principles of life that were hidden inside of riddles and parables so that only those who were sincere seekers would find them and prosper and be redeemed.

The real question that is being confronted is, "what is salvation?" I believe God has a near infinite number of slots available for the type of salvation that we fit into.  There is the man who has little faith, but believes out of cultural habit.  There is the man who believes, but has no heart for others or God, so he uses this knowledge for his own benefit.  There is the man who has no knowledge of Jesus, but lives a life of love and respect for others, to the best of his ability.

There are many ways up the mountain, but there is only one top of the mountain.  Is Christianity a religion of faith?  Yes, without faith it is impossible to please God.  Faith is the character/soul trait through which manifestation takes place.  

Is Christianity a religion of works?  The answer is yes, to save our souls, we must learn to perform righteously.  Everything that is not justified will be burned in the fire.  Is there only one way?  Well, yes, there is only one top of the mountain, and Jesus is not on the same level of stature as Buddha, Krishna, Mohammed. or the Dalai Lama.  But, the path of these other teachers was not totally wrong, it just didn't go to the top of the mountain.  Thus, there is an element of error, an element of incompleteness, and a consequence to the soul and spirit who has engaged in these erroneous spiritual paths.

He who is not against me is with me, and he who is not with me is against me.  This could be taken as a contradiction, or as a statement of God's view of those who are struggling to find the truth, but are not rebellious, just in error.  

Ultimately God must judge every soul, every heart, every idle word.  And, the unworthy character, the aspects of the heart that are defiled will be burned in the fires of hell.  The fires of hell may be purifying by the pain experienced associated with the erroneous thoughts and deeds.  Or, the fire of hell may simply be a garbage disposal where our unclean traits are dumped, trashed, burned, never to be thought of again, even by accident.  

Does this mean that everyone who has not accepted Jesus will be burning in hell.  I don't think so.  "He who is not against me is for me."  While such a tacit acceptance of Jesus is hardly an endorsement of Jesus as Lord, it is nevertheless a loophole in scripture which would allow God to save the heathen who has not rebelled against the Lordship of Jesus.  

Possibly there are levels to hell.  Possibly there is a place of torment which is more like discomfort, an unpleasant repetitive exercise that is meant to cleanse the heart mind and soul.  But at some point, bad is bad.  Such spiritual renegades may in fact be kept in solitary confinement, darkness, or be administered the torture of seeing and feeling the true terror and error of their own sins.  They may be subjected to the pain that is necessary to cleanse their hearts and minds of the commitment and stain of the sin they have committed.

I have heard stories of those who have had near death experiences and gone to hell.  The cries are described as echoing, and reverberating through the layers of the underworld.  In other words, there is a description of strata.  The levels of punishment and torture appear to be varied in location and severity.  Likewise, Paul has described having been raised up to the third heaven and seen things that he could not speak about.  Again, a variation in the levels of reward.  

If heaven and hell are layered, then it is possible that there is a more appropriate level of punishment and reward than the simple binary system of "believe in Jesus -- go to heaven" or "don't believe in Jesus -- go to hell."  I believe this concept is simplistic.  

In this analysis I am attempting to incorporate the great doctrines of the faith, reframe them, and hopefully resolve the apparent contradiction and confusion by applying a larger framework to the situation which encompasses and resolves the apparent contradiction into a single, understandable, theory.

Some of the issues that I wanted to resolve were:

1. The pygmies damned to hell, never having heard of Jesus

2. The people from Adam to Jesus, who didn't have the law or the prophets to redeem them.

3. The people who were contemporaries of Jesus who had either no contact with Jesus, or a limited understanding of him, were either damned or glorified by chance.

4. God desires that no one perish.

5. There is no way to the Father but by the Son.  

The scripture does not say that everyone who does not believe in Jesus will go to hell, it says that the way to the Father is through the Son, and no man comes unto the Father except through Him.  Thus, the possibility is that only those who have established a real relationship with Jesus can see the Father.  In other words, every other after-life experience is a false heaven, a shadow, a spiritual dead end.  Our goal is to unite into the true heaven and to live in true relationship with the Father.

Thus, the other people who are believers in other paths (gurus, spiritual teachers) may have other kingdoms, which are imitations of the True Heaven.  

Scripture says that those who have not believed are condemned already.  

The bottom line, I believe that provisions have been made for those who are simply ignorant of the specifics about the sacrifice of Jesus.  Likewise I believe punishment for the purpose of punishment and/or purification will be meted out for those who have rebelled against God and rejected His provision for their redemption and transformation.  In the garden of humanity, there truly are tares that have grown up with the wheat.  Evil truly does exist, and God will not allow it to prosper in His Kingdom.  

The problem I have been attempting to solve in this analysis is, "What might be the solution that God has instituted for all those people who are on the borderline of God's provision for salvation."  The bottom line, a moment in hell is way more than too long.  Even if everyone who doesn't believe in Jesus goes to hell, in the most conscious and tortured sense, and they eventually have the opportunity to repent, a sentence to hell until the end of the age is inordinately long.  

In other words, there are probably many solutions which God uses to provide for the proper reward and punishment of each soul.  I believe we can rest assured that the pygmies, Buddhist monks, suicide bombers, and mass murderers will each be dealt with properly.  But, it would be an error to focus on these exceptional cases as the core of one's theological structure.  The purpose of God's provision for humanity is to provide abundance, prosperity, relationship, growth, maturity, and fulfillment.  Jesus came that we have life, and have it more abundantly.

God did not create this universe to simply have a fishbowl or a zoo to watch the fish swim and animals roam around inside their captured and frustrated condition.  I believe God has tried make this world as real, free, and meaningful as possible.  And, that avoiding the provisions for salvation and His lordship are simply unwise choices.  Granted, there appears to be more payoff and thrill in pushing the limits, breaking God's laws, and living the fast and free life.  But, that life is a caricature of the abundance of joy and richness of a life that builds, grows, and matures when living with Jesus.

Sex, Drugs, and Rock and Roll:

The real issue in life is not "how to get by, or how to make it even if you do it wrong."  The point is "how to live a life that is real, full, vital, meaningful, satisfying, and abundant.  There are many alternate lifestyles.  The worlds of sex, drugs, and rock and roll are all available, and available to everyone in some form.  They are seductive, they look good, the senses are titillated, the pleasure centers are pushed to their maximum point of stimulation.  The hunger inside the heart that longs for something to fill and feed it, is satisfied for a time.  For a moment the mind, and heart are distracted so heavily that they don't notice the pain.

Everything is a drug experience.  Literally everything in life stimulates neurochemical receptors in the brain.  As a result of neuro-chemical stimulation, the "real world", the physical manifestation of life that we all live inside of during our waking hours impacts our senses with messages of various types.  But, life has a deeper structural dimension than being simply a complex of neurochemical signals, which arrive at the brain and stimulate motor reflexes.  The most obvious aspect of our humanity is the experience of consciousness and feeling.  We could look at the available tangible data and provide a fairly convincing hypothesis that we are simply and only material beings.  There is no tangible, verifiable, experimentally examinable perceptual or instrumental evidence of God, any other plane of existence, or any other phenomenon besides those which are overtly physical.

But, there is a whole domain of evidence that suggests strongly that there is another realm besides only the overtly physical world.  The subjective experience of consciousness is undeniable to every mentally competent human.  We each have the ability to look at one's self and think the though "I exist".  The concept of anything existing at all is remarkable enough.  I have attempted to postulate how God brought the physical universe into manifest existence from the realm of the original singularity of "God Alone".  But it appears that God not only created a universe, but He was also able to create a universe which was consciously aware of the universe, aware of its awareness, and free to make choices in how to act within the limits established by physical law.

In other words, consciousness, feeling, and will have been superimposed upon the foundation of the physical frame and integrated into our capabilities.  Thus, man can act and react, he can think, compare, perceive, analyze, compute, and decide.  And in all of this, he feels passion, energizing and mobilizing the heart.  These meta-physical qualities of thought, awareness, feeling, and will appear to be quite beyond the realm of the simply physical, and appear to be qualities and capabilities more akin to that available to the pure mind of God.

It is a trivial observation that the mind exists, everyone can simply open their eyes and know that they see, and know that they are separate from the world.  Seeing the world does not imply being the world.  The New Age philosophy of "I Am God", is one of those counter-intuitive leaps of faith that crept into this eclectic set of beliefs.  A common sense approach to life invalidates this viewpoint.  But nevertheless, there is a hint of truth to that proposition and perspective.  I have been given life, awareness, and spiritual power by God's divine creative ability when He created my spirit.  And, God alone exists, and everything made was made from His conceptualization and creative projection of His consciousness.  Then, in some small way, I must be God because I am connected to the source, which is only One.  

Returning mankind to the truth of the "Sea of God" type of philosophies is the essence of almost all other religions except Christianity.  The attempt is to break down what is seen as an artificial spiritual barrier known as the illusion of maya.  

But, as much as we might wish to think we are God, our power is limited on a very practical level.  The fact is that our spirit is able to make an effect on a very small level, our awareness is limited even though we can briefly catch glimpses of the hidden worlds.  And, some have seemingly been able to jump the barriers and return to that primal awareness of God and his unity with the creation.  But, it appears that God has a boundary protection system in place.  He does not allow one to remain in the domain of the unified consciousness, even though it appears that such phenomenon are possible.  To pursue such experience is to strive to become God, and exalt oneself above His authority.  Such was the temptation that was offered to Adam and Eve in the Garden.  One can attempt to pursue such an end, but it will ultimately be met with punishment and a barrier being erected against further invasion.  The proper relationship with God is one of walking with Him in the Garden, and having fellowship with Him.  

In the realm of action, we can think about changing the world, and doing things, but doing and thinking are two very different domains, even though they connect in a small way.  Thinking about action is a precursor, an organizing phenomenon, a seed of change.  Thinking affects the world only on the most minute electromagnetic level.  But even though thought is a small effect it is a very important seed for in the sequence of manifestation.  Action puts arms and legs to the thoughts and gives them form and shape.

Prayer, on the other hand may actually influence the substance of life.  Seldom do we see overt miracles such as invisible walls diverting the flow of lava, or levitation of large physical objects,  But, studies have been done which show a clear statistical improvement in the progress of various disease conditions.  Thus, there appears to be an interface with God which happens when we petition Him for assistance.  

The world is full of competitor religions.  They each have a bubble universe associated with them.  Every spiritual path has a world-view that reflects that spiritual foundational tone.  A Buddhist world feels different than Hindu, or Yogic, or Muslim, or Native American, or Christian world.  As humans, we accommodate to the world we live in.  When we have found that we can survive in a given environment, we then try to stabilize ourselves and simply maintain our survival.  Thus, people who grow up in a Muslim culture will have little incentive to change to adopt the Christian world-view unless they have been sufficiently introspective to admit that there is a dissatisfaction with their current world-view.  But, many who have come over to Jesus from other religions have noted the level of freedom that can be found with Christ.

The drug world is ultimately a mixture of reality and subjective experience.  The thoughts that arise can be seductive, but to some greater or lesser extent they are a subjective mental-emotional experience.  In other words, there is a great possibility for the perception and embedding of error while in the drug affected state.  The drug trip is simply a very passionate and mentally vivid mix of sensory and internal experience.

The entire pharmaceutical industry has made a fortune off of the proposition that there may be therapeutic benefits from altering automatic reaction to ordinary life stimuli.  There is no doubt that the brain can go into stable loops of feeling or thinking which prevent normal function.  But, it is a slippery slope that we tread when we begin to alter neurological function with chemicals.  The method of the therapeutic intervention must be proper, or else the drug itself becomes a problem.  

If the thinking or mood disturbance arises from an external disturbance in the life, then it may be appropriate to calm the body's response to the disturbance if the reaction is too great.  Ideally, it would best to remove the cause while calming the symptoms.  But, in the case of external life circumstance being the cause of a psychological disturbance, it may or may not be possible to adequately change that life situation so as to bring the mind into a place of peace.  This brings into question whether or not a calming agent should be given when the life disturbance has not been resolved.  In general, if an irritation continues forever, then