Unification News for February 1999
Many prominent historians consider the twin mainstreams of western thought and culture to be Hellenism and Hebraism. These are, respectively, the major humanist and God-centered schools of thought. The Divine Principle agrees, and elaborates.
In the December 1998 Unification News we discussed the Hellenic side of history. This month well look at some Hebraic, or Biblical, issues. The subject embraces enough material to fill an entire library, so well focus mainly on the "hard reality" of the Bible, as opposed to the theologies derived from it.
From Constantines time until the Renaissance, Hebraism dominated. The literal reality of the Bible was unquestioned. Even the most extreme heretics invoked it, while doubting the Roman Churchs standard interpretations. The Bibles future rival, Science, didnt even exist then; certainly not as a separate discipline, and hardly so as a rigorous way of thinking.
Following the revival of Hellenism, the Bible was openly questioned. After the French Revolution it came under heavy criticism. Next, scholars like Nietzsche and Voltaire sought to banish itand the spirituality it embodiedentirely. (In a masterstroke that Christians never tire of boasting about, a Bible Society office now occupies Voltaires old home in Vienna.)
Ultimately, Marx and Lenin sought to liquidate not only Hebraic beliefs, but the believers themselves.
Communism has now fallen, in almost every country, but the intellectual debate continues.
In a parallel development, Europes age-old undercurrent of anti-Semitism gained intellectual pretensions. It reached its apex in Germany, with a nature centered, Pagan/Aryan revival. Under Hitler and the Nazis, this school clashed directly with the God centered, human elevating, Judeo-Christian tradition.
Heinrich Himmlers occult center, Wewelsburg Castle, was to be the "Vatican" of a newly dominant Aryan religion. A faith proudly spartan, forest loving, piously vegetarianand viciously ruthless towards its "inferior" human opponents.
The Nazi edifice has also fallen, but like its Marxist cousin, its ideas continue to play a role in the modern "culture war."
A sense of wonder surrounds the Bible, and the ancient lands of its birth. Science has finally come around to regarding it with due respect.
Scholarly attitudes are now swinging dramatically away from denouncing the Bible. The scientists most directly concerned with the Bible are Archaeologists, and it falls upon them to verify the reality of the Bibles accountsor not.
During the late 1800s, Schliemann found Troy and Mycenae by reading Homers Illiad carefully. He turned Archaeology from a simple "treasure hunt" into a method of divulging history itself. (He also decorated his mansion in Athens with an ancient pagan symbolthe swastika.)
Others then applied this new science to the Bible, and quickly discovered solid evidence of the places and people mentioned therein. This process of discovery is far from over, nor is the debate it engenders. The very existence of King Solomons Jerusalem is still a matter of vigorous dispute!
Scholars are finding Biblical and Homeric names, sites, and miscellany all over the Middle East. The name of King David has now, in all probability, been found on three ancient (and contemporary) stone carvings.
Archaeologists have been digging in Jerusalem for over a hundred years, and as crowded and picked-over as that city is, theyre still making dramatic discoveries. In 1998 it was announced that a previously unsuspected system of underground tunnels, water channels, and guard towers; dating from the time of Joshuas conquest; have been found near the fabled Siloam Spring.
Other experts are combing old records, and combining the resources of several disciplines. The Ritmeyers, a famous husband-and-wife team, have conducted an exhaustive analysis of the Temple Mount, and especially the area now enclosed by the Muslims sacred Dome of the Rock. They assert that theyve identified the rectangular imprint of (the original platform for) the Ark of the Covenant, still visible on the rocks heavily-scarred surface.
Belief & Heresy
Profound and deeply held beliefs lie at the very heart of Hebraism. Many have died for them. Any research on the Bible is steeped in the beliefs of the scholar that expounds upon it. Most prominent Bible scholars, of this and past generations, are either Jewish or Christian. These beliefs cannot fail to influence their conclusions, especially the version that they announce publicly.
There are other versions of Biblical history than the mainstream ones. Many of these are well-known, and even respected, while others are downright wacky.
The Koran asserts that Jesus did not die, but that another man took his place on the cross. He is said to have lived out his life in a more ordinary fashion. (This author is not a Koranic scholar, and will not attempt to address this profound interfaith issue.)
Other doctrines take this "didnt die" idea even further. The ancient Gnostic heresies, and the Nag Hammadi scrolls found in Egypt, describe Jesus as getting married and fathering children. The Principle casts a special poignancy upon this idea, for we understand that Jesus fondestbut unfulfilledwish was to have done exactly that.
Nonetheless, it would be a good idea to review these ideas. They are very old, and today theyre finding new currency with the New Age movement.
From the Books of the Maccabees to the legend of King Clovis, several Tribes of Israel have long been "connected" to Greece, and thence to the heartlands of Europe, especially southern France.
The Grail legends go into greatif obliquedetail, describing the bloodline of Jesus himself. These, and other centuries-old occult writings, trace Europes Merovingian dynasty back to children that Jesus (allegedly) sired, some say by Mary Magdalen.
The Knights Templar, Masons, Mormons, and various others agree on this. In the case of the LDS Church, unofficiallythough devout Mormons have told this author that Joseph Smith was himself a descendent of Jesus! (Read Holy Blood, Holy Grail by Baigent, Leigh, and Lincoln.)
Is there a Principled explanation? Perhaps there was an actual descent from Jesus brother James, or from Lazarus, who may also have been related. Technically theyd have been half-siblings, but even so . . . Remember that the "Zechariah connection" was not well known, and Mary and Joseph certainly werent going to bring it up! Eventually the reality will be known, and no doubt itll be very interesting indeed.
The very heart of Hebraismthat which sets it apart from Hellenismis the understanding that man possesses a spirit. Not merely a fuzzy "divine nature," but an individual, immortal soul, bestowed by God the Creator. A unique spirit not shared by the animals, or by any other part of the physical Creation.
Adam and Eve, who were probably born in Africa some 130,000 years ago, were the first true humans. From their infancy they possessed souls, and even the Fall did not alter this.
The Bible names their three sons, but no daughters. Many have asked: so how did their lineage, and thus the human soul, get passed along? Uncomfortable speculations abound.
Geneticists are currently mapping the total human genome (every bit of our DNA). Despite racial and other apparent differences, we humans have virtually everything in common. Despite the speculations of a best-selling novel, The Miracle Strain, even Jesus DNA would likely prove "only" human.
What of the soul? It seems there are two ways to look at it: as something you have, and about how youre regarded.
Lets use viruses as an example of the former. Theyre so small that it takes a very sophisticated microscope to see them. The soul is even harder to detect. A cold (a physical entity caused by rhinoviruses) can be passed along, and there is no such thing as a "half cold." Generally speaking, you either have one or you dont.
Take citizenship as an example of the latter. It is a purely conceptual entity, which can be "granted" to persons. The paperwork (a passport, etc.), is only an outward manifestation. It can be inherited upon birth; otherwise, it must be conferred upon each person individually.
The mortal mind can hardly grasp the concept, but it would seem that the soul has aspects of both. Adam and Eves sons could have "passed along" their souls, perhaps to their proto-human wives, and certainly to their children. God would then have recognized them as fully human, and granted them an eternal home in the spiritual world.
We can hope that further discoveries await. Perhaps, as already depicted in fiction, sacred objects like the Ark of the Covenant will be located. As the Principle makes clear, Jesus Resurrection did not involve his physical body. Therefore, his final resting place may yet be discovered. (If its already known to some occult sect, then, revealed to the world.)
The soul is real, and there have been tantalizing hints (and more than a few false starts) that scientists may someday observe it directly. Famous science fiction writer Poul Anderson speculates that our minds unique "quantum states" may be imprinted upon spacetime itself, and might thus survive the brains demise. (Read his latest novel, Starfarers.)
As we have often stated before, the Principle is clear that Religion and Science are both aspects of the Gods truth, and methods for understanding His vast Creation. Giving the Bible its due has already enriched Science greatly, and this trend shows every sign of continuing.
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