Sunday's Thoughts
by Alice-Alexandra-Sofia
 

Archive_Page_6_2008-2009

 

 

The Departed Thoughts

The Hierarchy

The Power of Coercion

 

 

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The Departed Thoughts

 

 

…Have no belief in the ruler nor in the offspring of men, in whom there is no salvation.

His breath shall go forth, and he shall return into his earth;

in that day all his thoughts shall depart…

{Psalm 145(146):3–4}

 

 

Psalm 145 (145 in the Septuagint, 146 in English translations of the Bible) magnifies the omnipotence and constant mercy of the Lord God, Creator of the universe, Eternal Keeper of truth, and the Righteous Judge. God restores the ruined ones, protects the strangers, gives freedom to those in fetters, and grants wisdom to those with the blinded mind. The reign of God endures forever. The way of sinner leads to ruin.  

The Psalm not only reminds of the endless distance between the reign of God and the earthly life of men; it conveys the warning: have no belief in the ruler and in the offspring of men (or the young of men – that is, according to the Psalm’s context, those without the mature mind), because there is no salvation in them. In the day of death, any ruler shall go into the dust from which he arose, and all his thoughts shall depart (or perish – in English translation).

Many empires vanished from the face of the Earth before and after God make Himself known to His chosen people and granted them the Law. Each empire – a creation of a particular mind – vanished with its creator. In the day of death, each emperor, ruler, king, as well as any man in a position of authority – αρχοντας, took with him all his intentions, plans, reflections, vision of his world – his thoughts. At the moment of death, everything, which is conveyed with the compound word διαλογισμοι  and sustained by the unique logic of reasoning, is closed for the others: it departs along with its creator and host – the mind of a deceased ruler. Whatever left from the original creation/empire – everything would be transformed according to the successor’s διαλογισμοι even if the law and order apparently remain unchanged, and the offspring of men, which faithfully served the deceased ruler, switches to worship a new one (“the king is dead; let lives the king”).

The current – Aristotelian – civilization began with conquests of Alexander of Macedonia. Alexander was a pupil of Aristotle; he embodied Aristotelian political speculations and assumptions into the establishment erected on the ruins of conquered and plundered nations*1*.

Although Alexander’s establishment dissipated shortly after his death, Alexander’s vision of the multinational empire became the ideal: many followers studied his life, experience, and war tactics; many attempted to repeat his achievements. The works of Aristotle, which inspired Alexander, served as the universal manuals during many centuries, at least until Machiavellianism came into existence. Aristotelian democracy still is the political reality.

After Alexander, many empires sprang from the dust and turned into the dust: Rome, China, Mongol, Byzantium, Ottoman, “holy” Roman (papal empire), British, Russian, Habsburg, French and other empires compose the gigantic chain of political–religious–social establishments of IV century BC – AD XIX century.

Then, the title “empire” became implicit; the adjective “great” was apprehended also by states and nations – for instance, great Fascist Italy, great Nazi Germany, etc.

Now, the title of empire is bestowed on the world–wide establishments (including business and other enterprises) that promote particular religious beliefs, implement particular social–political–economical orders, or exercise total control over media, culture, social and economical systems: the meaning of “empire” has overgrown the boundaries of territories and conglomerates of the nations conquered with military force. However, the imperial essence remains the same:

a/ access to the power over the others, which is as much close to the relevant “absolute power” as it can be close under the existing conditions

b/ superiority over the others, mainly, because of possession with

1) the reserves accumulated from the subjugated nations/states/systems
(especially, knowledge, natural resources, infrastructures, etc.)

and

2) the means of coercion
(e.g., weapons of mass destruction, organizations,
social, political, or religious hierarchies and values), 
which at least temporarily are inaccessible for the potential conquerors/competitors

 
c/ the particular symbolic universe –– religious–philosophical–political–legal–cultural–etc. beliefs, assumptions, and issuing morals, rules, norms, laws, practices, customs – the foundation,  which embodies particular interpretations of the good and the evil, and which is intended to sustain existence, to secure survival, and to facilitate development and further expansion.

Although each of the empires that lived and perished in different times (or lives and disintegrates now, or will live and will be ruined in other times), applied different weapons, had different laws, cultures, morals, rules of worship, and different scales (e.g., territories, time–range of development and collapse, strategies of war and expansion, quantities of subjects, quantities of human lives destroyed and human beings enslaved), all of them carried the same pattern: deified ruler takes the place of God and applies the power of coercion and deceit to subdue and to enslave the others.

None of the empires of the Past and the Present brought happiness, freedom, and salvation to its subjects; only the degrees of apparent enslavement and rituals of worship differentiate, for instance, the Roman Empire from the totalitarian states of the twentieth century.

In the course of history, the resources used, the means applied, and the stage on which empires appear, accomplish their purposes, and face destruction, remain the same: the four continents, the four races of men, almost the same set of nations, and the same set of prizes, which the winner acquires with force, coercion, and deceit. Again and again almost the same sets of players begin their performance and leave the arena after their time ends and they have to fall in sleep of shame or oblivion and then, to accumulate reserves needed to enter the next cycle of growth–collapse. Some of them such as, for instance, the Byzantine Empire, have gone forever; the others such as, for instance, China, England, France, Germany, Russia, again and again bounce to the peak of power, wage wars, then, pass through the time of decline, suffer devastating defeat or revolution, collapse, and then, rise again to begin a new round of to fight for the world–wide domination.

The pattern accepted by all who followed Alexander includes deification of a ruler: the common feature, which might be easily found in all empires – political and religious – of the Past and the Present, is deification/idolization of its leader. A ruler/leader/idol might be a human being–center of a group of faithful followers and servants, the elite (e.g., aristocracy, technocracy, military personnel), a political party and opinion–makers (in a case, for instance, when the empire is covered with name of “democracy”), or creations of human mind: ideology, cult, philosophical concept, scientific “truth,” and any other set of beliefs. Whatever kind of idol would be – human being(s) or human creation(s) – the idol takes the place of God and becomes the highest law–creating authority and object of worship for the others.

Historically, deification of the ruler is implemented

–– firstly, through establishment of a new religion (including such religion’s derivatives as meaning of virtues and vice, laws, social order, morals, hierarchies of knowledge and authority), which embody ruler’s vision of good and evil

–– then, with establishment of specific systems for the purpose of wide propagation of the bliss of new religion (for instance, the Inquisition, the guardian elite, secret police, and other institutions endowed with the right to monitor words and deeds of all subjects, and then, to punish for deviations, for instance, to imprison, torture and assassinate the different–minded).  

The overall meaning of the bliss is constant for all empires; in general, it contains

1/ happiness and pleasure to define the way of life and death of the subjects, to wage war, to possess wealth and leisure, and to have advantages, such for instance, as access to knowledge forbidden for the subjects; this bliss belongs to the ruler and the ruling elite – those with access to the power of coercion

2/ happiness and pleasure to serve the deified ruler and to be sacrificed for the sake of good of the ruler and his establishment; this bliss belongs to the majority: ordinary subjects–servants–slaves–citizens–members–worshipers–believers–etc.

From another angle of consideration, there is no lack of men who run after the rulers–to–be, believe their promises, elevate them at the rank of the highest authority over themselves, fight their wars, faithfully worship them, and obediently accept “the highest duty and honor” to be sacrificed/killed/enslaved for the sake of their rulers–idols.

In spite of similarity of all empires, each ruler has its own history of ascent to the power and own means of self–deification: everyone elaborates the general pattern according to the accessible resources, accumulated reserves, and conditions–terms of existence. Anyway, as soon as a ruler is deified, the actual history becomes forbidden: no one discloses truth – what he had done to the others while he struggled for the power and worked on own deification, and for which price he obtained the desirable.

Probably, that is why the history of kings, celebrities, and other idols attracts so many curios minds interested in details: although the general pattern of evil is widely known and available, everyone makes own choice between good and evil in his very own reality, at each step and each moment of life.

Probably, that is why the thoughts have to depart at the time of death. Man was created alone; since, in spite of all illusions – friends, relatives, followers, disciples, colleagues, comrades, etc. – he lives and dies alone: no one is able to feel the others’ pain, suffering, happiness, to repeat the others’ achievements and mistakes, or to go through the others’ moment of death. Everyone has own destiny–portion: the full set of beliefs and illusions, truths and misconceptions, achievements and failures, good and evil – all things that compose life, the way of cognition, and death.

Still there is something that everyone is able to do for the other, even within the Aristotelian establishments.

From a particular point of view, empires and other settings, through which we have to pass before the eternity, are nothing more than facilities for training and testing of our love and knowledge of God, abilities to accomplish His will and to observe His law in spite of all difficulties and temptations: they prepare us for the ultimate freedom, for the Eternity. If to overstep the boundaries and walls, which are built to keep human chattel [Aristotle Oeconomica  I.v.] under control, the understanding comes: all those who control apparent behavior of a body are not able to interfere with life of the mind–soul- that carries the image and likeness of free and omnipotent God – Father and Creator. Whichever establishment defines the manner of life and death, whatever the conditions of life are, everyone has something to share and to give – bread, water, knowledge of things, compassion, the very life {John 15:12–13; 1 John 3:16–18}. For those who see the inner essence of things, nothing overcomes the inner freedom. Such people are able to give up the very life for the sake of the others as Lord Jesus Christ our God and Savior did. Then, even in the Dante’s Inferno, a human being is able to be the child of God and to literally follow the words of God.

And I think: at least one blessing is inseparable from life: the thoughts of dead rulers vanish along with their authors – anyway, there is no salvation in them. All of them acted in presumption of own greatness and believed that they are exalted over the others because of their talents and virtues or because of their vice and crimes – they know. All of them believed in own exceptional superiority and assumed the right to teach, to coerce, and to send to death the others less fortunate in their attempts to gain the power of coercion. Yet, the truth is that the only features, which in fact distinguish the rulers from his subjects, are the unquenchable lust for self–exaltation, insatiable lust for power over the others, and the ability to prefer the values of the material world to the righteousness and virtue. Would we learn any new knowledge, would we find any help or hope if it is possible to decipher the departed thoughts of the vanished rulers and to determine the logic behind their plans and visions, which they embodied into the empires that as they believed would last?

The tragedy of creation––growth––destruction of empires is repeated again and again, each time with more human suffering. With each new empire–embodiment of the Aristotelian pattern, mankind slides down, close to utter degeneration: life of many with each day becomes more and more similar to the Inferno, not to the settings identified as “civilization.”

However, at least one hope left, the one, which was given before commencement of the first Aristotelian empire. The ruler of the mightiest in its time Babylonian kingdom had a dream, which Daniel the Prophet interpreted. The dream foretold the Future: the kingdom of God will destroy the great idol composed from establishments of men; they all are destined to vanish and no place would be found for them {Daniel 2:1–44}. Anyway, there is no salvation in them; there is no salvation in their worshipers – the offspring of heathenism…

 

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Notes:

 

*1* Concerning Aristotle and Alexander of Macedonia – in: Philosophy: Aristotle – Library files.

 

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References:

 

Aristotle. "The Oeconomica.”.The Metaphysics. v.2. With an English Translation by G. Cyril Armstrong. Cambridge, Massachusetts: Harvard University Press; London: William Heinemann, 1935. 321–424. 2 vols.

 

Sunday, November 1, 2009

 

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The  Hierarchy

 

 

…there shall be a king over us.

And we also will be like all the nations,

and our king shall judge us, and shall preside over before us,

and shall fight our wars…

{1 Kings 8:19–20}

 

 

After Moses’ death, the Judges oversaw the people of Israel in the time of peace and led their battles in the time of war: some idol–worshiping nations were left to dwell in the Promised Land; they were left to test the loyalty to God and steadfastness in keeping the Law of God, because the chosen people disobeyed the commandments of God given through Moses. As a punishment, the same nations whose daughters the Israelites married and whose idols the Israelites worshiped, were allowed to enslave and persecute them, yet, nothing could prevent the frequent relapses into idol–worship {Judges 2:1–23; 3:1–30; 6:27–31; 10:6–16; 1 Kings 7:3–4}.

The history confirms that the violation of the Law carries within itself the worst punishment: the corrupted mind reaps own iniquities and perishes because of own lawlessness and perversion. Although chosen to keep the Law and knowledge of God and to become the role model for all the nations, the ancient Israelites set the pattern of destruction for those who reject God and violate His Law. This pattern has the following features, described by the Prophets and the Apostles {1 Kings 2:12, 17, 22–36; Proverbs 21:29–30; Isaiah 2:6–9; 9:18–20; 29:9–14; 44:9, 18–20; 64:6–7; Jeremiah 2:7–8, 26–28; 5:7–8, 21–31; 6:10–16; 9:1–7; 14:14–15; 23:9–12; Ezekiel 22:3–4, 25–29; John 1:11; Matthew 15:12–14; 18:6–7; 1 Peter 4:3–4; 2 Peter 2:1–3, 12–22; Romans 1:18–32}:

 – if the human mind violates the commandments of God and prefers idols to God, such a mind not only forfeits its freedom and own divine nature because it rejects God {where the Spirit of God is, there freedom is ––  2 Corinthians 3:17}; along with rejection of God, it loses wisdom and intelligence: the faculty of deliberation, the ability to differentiate between good and evil and between truth and untruth, the ability to perceive the true essence of things, and desire of purification and righteousness, which are accompanied with development and perfection

– the priests leave the Lord, and corruption besets them and those connected with them – firstly, their servants and their families

– the teachers of the Law do not know God–Lawgiver, and their ignorance prepares the place for false prophets who prophesy their own empty dreams and deceit

– all those intended to keep the Law and to guard and disseminate knowledge of God become the slaves of evil and sin: similarly to the withered shrubs burning with wildfire, they are consumed with corruption and spread their iniquities; they become the blind leaders of the blind, who lead the others into the pit of death while promise freedom and prosperity; through them temptations and scandals avert the people from God   

– the false and corruption take the place of truth and virtue: the community or society of idol–worshippers provides the fertile ground for uncleanness accompanied with all kinds of crimes and perversion, which transform human beings into the beasts of prey. The worst of all plagues are the inability to remain steadfast in faith, loss of courage, and the subsequent inability of comprehension of the instructions of God, which culminate in loss of the power to discern the good and the evil and inability to accept the Word–God, Who reconciles the world to God {2 Corinthians 5:18–19} and annihilates sins of men.

In summary, it might be concluded that

 

as ancient leprosy transformed the living flesh into the decaying mass–food of death,

in the similar fashion,

the violation of the Law of God corrupts the mind,

which becomes devoid of faith – the living dead,

and transforms it into the easy prey of heretics, liars, and apostates.

 

For instance,

1/ idol–worshipers become unable to differentiate between good and evil; they kill and sacrifice other human beings, including own children, because they deify statues of wood and stone, the planets, ideologies, “divine” emperors, popes, and other idols – figments of evil imagination

2/ those who were given the knowledge of God and the path of righteousness, forfeit them and return to the corruption: they made themselves after the likeness of unclean animals, which habitually return to their uncleanness {2 Peter 2:18–22}.

Consequently, the worst of all crimes is the corruption of the priests who lead the people into temptation, scandalize them, and make them to forget the Law and instructions of God.

The Holy Scriptures provide an example of consequences of utter corruption of the priests. When Samuel the prophet and the judge of Israel became old, he appointed his sons to be the judges. Yet, they turned aside for gain, took gifts, and issued perverted judgments. So, the people gathered themselves together, came to Samuel, and asked to give them a king who would judge them and lead their battles, thus, they would be as all other nations. The general background for this event was readiness to desert God: already, in the time of Gedeon, the people ascribed to Gedeon the victory over the enemies and implored him to rule over them along with his son and son of his son. Relapses to idol–worship, constant contacts with the heathen nations along with corruption of the priests ruined the steadfastness and averted the people from God: that is how the desire to have a king and to be as the other nations matured. Samuel prayed to the Lord and then, the Lord said him that the people did not reject Samuel: they rejected God from reigning over them in the same manner they deserted Him and served “other gods” starting from the day He brought them out of Egypt. Samuel has to listen to them, yet, he must describe the manner of the king who would reign over them. So, Samuel warned the people that the king would take his portion out of all their possessions and make their sons and daughters his servants. They themselves would become the king’s slaves. Then, they would cry out because of the king, yet, God would not hear them because they themselves have made their choice. Eventually, the people received their first king, and became “as all the nations.” Very soon they realized that they committed sin before God by requesting a king to reign over them, yet it was too late: they all – the people and their king – became joined together in life and death {Judges 8:22–23; 1 Kings 8:4–22; 12:12–25}. That is how the hierarchy became the fixed pattern of all human establishments.

The actual meaning of this episode reveals the greatest tragedy of mankind: the only nation chosen to be the possession of God, the holy nation of priests intended to evolve into the Kingdom of God and to set the path to the lost homeland for the entire mankind, by her own free will, rejected her Lord and Master, and with Him, her divine designation.

Since, all hierarchical establishments of men have been averting their creators and subjects from God. Indeed, if to trace the line of kings through the entire history of ancient Israel, it might be noticed that the majority of those mentioned in the Holy Scriptures brought evil and devastated the nation: they led their subjects into sin of idol–worship, corruption, and defeat; they deserted God, rejected His Law, enslaved His people, and murdered His messengers – the prophets:

– the first of them – Saul turned aside, usurped responsibilities of Samuel the Prophet to make the burnt offering to God, disobeyed commandments of God; ultimately, Saul was cast into the possession of the evil spirit, suffered defeat, and committed suicide

– one of the last – Herod usurped the praise, which was due to God, murdered St. James the Apostle, arrested Peter the Apostle, and attempted to stop dissemination of the Word of God; Herod was eaten by worms and died {1 King 13:7–14; 15:10–30; Acts 12:1–24}.

The Saul’s actions formed the core of the main pattern, which describes destruction of many nations.

For instance, usually, the earthly rulers of men’s establishments begin their straggle with the authority of God by asserting own absolute power over bodies and souls of their subjects: they assume the rights

a) to usurp authority over the Church of God

b) to define beliefs and to establish their own interpretation of good as the meaning of spiritual and civil virtues for their subjects

c) to ascribe the power of the divine law to their own laws and decrees.

The hierarchy became the main tool in achievement of these purposes. Now, the common perception recognizes the hierarchical principle as the main pattern of creation. The hierarchy serves as the main descriptions for the phenomenon of complexity within the perceivable Universe, in which the infinite multitudes of energy forms

 

materialize into energy–information and energy–information–matter systems, realities

exist–function to accomplish the purposes of their creation

dissipate to free the stage for the next set of actors.

 

Yet, in fact, nobody can confirm existence of the hierarchies within the Universe. The hierarchy appears only at the level of creations of men: it is an artificial construction intended to stabilize, to control, and to predict behavior of the systems and realities, which might influence political and social life. Evidently, the hierarchy might exist only at the levels of the structured matter, which already is endowed with its destiny: purposes, significance for the life–cycle of the others, processes, terms, conditions, and time range of existence.

A human being is kept within the social, political, and religious hierarchies by the fear of annihilation, physical and spiritual enslavement, expectations of protection, and the degree of desirability those advantages, privileges, conditions, feeling of security, which hierarchies promise to provide.

The means to assess the desirability of the particular place within the hierarchy include senses, emotions, instincts, inner hierarchies of values and purposes (e.g., purposes of existence, the necessity to have at least relative certainty of expectations, predictability of environment, fear, greed, passions, pride, necessity of self–realization, a desire to materialize own creations).

If ordinary people are displaced by the hierarchical level, which they identify as own or intend to achieve, the loss of hierarchy triggers significant consequences up to the loss of the meaning of existence.

In its relations with the actuality, the mind also employs the hierarchies (e.g., hierarchy of values: everyone and everything has own hierarchies – for this is worthy to give up the very life, for that it would not be worthy to spend time and efforts to gain possession) for evaluation and survival within its environment. However, is the mind designed to exist within the hierarchies?

The core of mind is the direct connection: human being––God. The mind belongs to the managing subsystem of the Universe: the beauty, complexity, effectiveness, and efficiency of its design excel incomparably everything known. All minds are the beings created after the same pattern – the image and likeness of God; as such, they are equal and all of them have the same direct connection with their Creator unless they reject Him. Therefore, it should not be any hierarchy; only the mind itself, voluntarily, constructs such hierarchies–cages for itself.

In general, the mind creates hierarchies of the systems, phenomena, and events, which compose its environment, during ordinary cognitive activities when it creates information and knowledge for the external communications intended to secure physical survival. Creation of the conceptual worlds (e.g., philosophical concepts, sets of beliefs, and systems of knowledge, purposes and values, which explain, justify, or interpret the humankind universe) should belong to the non–hierarchical chaotic structures of the mind’s cognizing core. When the mind descends at the level of structured thinking in the matters of religion, when it accepts operation with the hierarchies of the matter as the meaning of own existence, and when it imposes the restrictions of the matter (images) on the knowledge received through the faith, it serves the purposes of the temporal matter, therefore, rejects God and reconciles itself with evil and death.

When the mind places itself within the hierarchies of the world it had been created to dominate, such placement evokes the old fairy tale about the almighty empress who, being under the spell of the evil wizard, each night transformed herself into the animated doll, which had to amuse the empress’ slaves.

For any mind, existence without the hierarchies is possible because of faith, love, and knowledge of God. The mind’s independence and ability to live without the earthly hierarchies of power is the first fruit of the inner freedom, which Lord God Jesus Christ promised His followers {John 8:32}.

However, it seems that each time, when God calls His creations to the freedom, they keep returning to the same trap of limited slavery existence instead of accepting the way to the perfection and ultimate freedom.

The puzzling phenomenon of adherence to the earthly hierarchies, which are described with the Aristotle’s universal “master–slave” pattern, has two pillars – slaves and masters. So, why some accept the role of slave and the others strive to obtain maximal power over the slaves? To resolve the both parts of the puzzle means to find the reasons, which compel the perfect system created for the eternity to descend at the level of the dissipating structures and to prefer the temporal abundance of the matter to its eternal Creator. Perhaps, finding of the reasons would facilitate prevention the negative influence of the hierarchical establishments.

Two events from the history of mankind could provide insight into the nature of hierarchical establishments, which for their existence demand division on two groups – slaves and those who control them:

1/ already mentioned above rejection of the exceptional status of the chosen nation governed by God and the request to have a king as all the nations do {1 Kings 8:4–22; 12:12–25}

2/ establishment of the elaborated hierarchy within the papal church of Rome, when between God and His creation new levels of authority appeared, such as the saints, doctors of the church, and the Inquisition along with its Prefect – the pope.

For example, Roger Bacon asserts that a Christian man “must believe in the Church and the Scripture and the Saints and the Catholic doctors” and do not rely “only or principally on human reason” [The Opus Majus 101].

It is noteworthy that Roger Bacon mentions the Scriptures which convey the words of God, after the papal church (Roger Bacon lived in 1210~1215(?) – 1294; the Inquisition forbade all laymen to read the Bible in 1229 [Grun 168]). However, if man cannot rely on own intellect, why should he rely on the intellect of other men – “Catholic doctors,” for instance; what makes their intellect more powerful? Could such power to be a fruit of their efforts to justify atrocities of the Inquisition*1*?

Roger Bacon is one link within the long chain of the servants of the hierarchies of coercive power who impose own slavish perception of the world and religion unto the others. The roots of the puzzling phenomenon of the voluntary submission might be traced to the tribe, which was granted the exclusive role of “a kingdom of priests and a holy nation” – the servants and Own possession of God. Submission of the ancient Israelites to the earthly hierarchies in the beginning of their history was the temporary punishment intended to make the people to learn and appreciate the difference between serving God and serving the earthly rulers. When the ancient Israelites rejected Lord God and demanded a king to govern them so they would be “like all the nations,” they were given an explanation and warning about the price for existence within a typical earthly hierarchy of power. The worst part of this price is loss of direct contact with God {Exodus 19:5–6; Leviticus 20:26, 25:55; 1 Kings 8:4–20; 12:9–19; 1 Chronicles 16:19–22; 2 Chronicles 12:7–8}.

The Prophet’s warning was disregarded: something more important than loss of freedom, children, and wealth blinded the mind of those who sought the earthly ruler. There could be different explanations of this “blindness” – the willingness to give up freedom. For instance, it could be a necessity of physical survival, the individual perception of the common good, belief into the divine nature (deification or idolization) of the state, a desire of the progress, feeling of insecurity, a desire of social comfort and predictability of existence, and especially, the rejection of responsibility for own thoughts and deeds, which is the main feature that distinguishes a gregarious social animal from a free human being created in the image and likeness of God. Also, it could be the impossibility to cognize God, therefore, to foresee His actions and to influence them similarly as it can be done with the earthly rulers (therefore, by substitution of a known mortal human being for uncognizable Almighty God, to assure at least some degree of predictability and comfort).

Yet, God defined the petition about a king as the rejection: they leave God to worship other deities and reject His kingship because they do not want God to reign over them {1 Kings 8:7}. Thus, whatever the triggering point was, the essence of this phenomenon is the inability or indisposition to focus own mind–soul on God and to accomplish the purposes for which God created man. So, another part of the puzzle comes to the light: what is the cause of the inability or indisposition to focus own mind–soul on God {that is to comprehend the truth that a human being lives by God and has neither separate existence from the Creator nor life without God – John 6:47–51; 14:6; 17:2–3, 21, 23} and to accomplish the purposes for which God created man?

This cause might be inferred from the history of transformation of the Roman Christian Church into the papal church of Rome. The attempt of the papacy to gain the absolute secular power over the world (firstly, by transforming the kings and other secular authorities into own servants) was simultaneous re–focusing of the hierarchy. The popes already have the authority of the priest; then, they assumed the authority of a prophet as the source of the revelations of God by claiming the status of the divine ordinances for own laws (supported with the concept of the papal infallibility). With transformation of the kings into the papal servants, the popes elevated themselves into the highest authority of the world. Consequently, Thomas Aquinas *2* embodied the papal lust for the absolute power into three conceptual statements, which became the main articles of the papal faith:

1/ Aquinas introduced the specific “virtue of authority”; he postulated that the prelates and princes, although they are wicked, should be honored because they are “standing in God’s place” and are “having a share of the dignity of God”; consequently, even a fool must be honored “if he stands in God’s place or represents the whole community” [Summa Theologica II–II Q.63 a3]; it means that according to Aquinas, the pope, as the highest prelate and prince of all his subjects, stands at the place of God and has the share of dignity of God

        2/ with the reference to the Aristotle’s statement that the virtue–goodness is obedience: obedience of slaves to their master, and obedience of citizens to their ruler [Aristotle Politics I.13, 1260a; III.4, 1277a], Aquinas equated obedience–submission to the control of the others with the virtue and described obedience to the superior as the divinely established order, as the good, as the special moral virtue and as “the regular mode of life” for religious people [Summa Theologica I–II Q. 92 a1; II–II Q.104 a2]. Consequently, disobedience to the superior becomes a mortal sin, which violates two main commandments because it contradicts to the love of God and to the love of neighbor (the Aquinas’ superior is also a neighbor)

3/ Aquinas invented the particular meaning of the conscience: the correct conscience “binds absolutely and perfectly against the command of a superior”; the false conscience binds imperfectly because it binds conditionally, with reservations. Yet, the subject should not judge the command of a superior; his concern is to fulfill the command, because the obligation to obey the superior cannot be changed while the false conscience might be corrected. Besides, “the soul of a prelate is higher than the soul of a subject” [Truth Q.17 a1, a2, a5]. {This is a complete delusion, moreover, sacrilege, because only God judges the soul of man and evaluates who is higher – the wicked prelate pretending to stand at His place or the humble human being – the papal subject enslaved by the “princes” of the church.}

        The practical implications of the Aquinas’ postulates might be illustrated with Aquinas’ own inferences from some of his assertions.

        With the reference to God as to the “Lord of death and life,” Aquinas connects assassination of innocent men with the will of God and declares that the subject has no right to discuss the judgment of superior. If the subject assassinated innocent man, he is not guilty because he obeyed the superior’s judgment – in particular, the judge who sentenced this innocent man to death [Summa Theologica II–II Q.64 a6].

        The Aquinas’ notion concerning the “correct” conscience became the buttress of the papal “absolute” authority over bodies and souls of the papal subjects (conscience is the attribute of the soul), because it introduced into the articles of the papal faith

        1) the unconditional obedience to the superior as the property of the subject’s “right conscience”

        2) the sole responsibility of the subject for fulfillment of the superior’s orders, without own judgment concerning superior’s orders.

        Then, secular rulers accepted the Aquinas’  assertions as their very own. For instance, in the twentieth century, after Germany lost World War II, in the attempt to avoid responsibility for the crimes against humanity, many Nazi criminals of war offered the same arguments in their defense – responsibility of the superiors for their orders and the necessity of own absolute obedience. 

        Aquinas defines schism as the special sin of “rebelliously  disobeying” to the commandments of the papal church and refusal to be submitted to the papal church’s judgment. Schismatics are the people who commit a twofold sin: they “refuse to submit” to the Roman pope and they reject communion with those who acknowledge the supremacy of the Roman pope. Although schism is not equal with heresy or unbelief, the choice of separation from the papal church and refusal of submission to the pope make schism the mortal sin: schism is the greatest from all sins against neighbor because it opposes “to the spiritual good of multitude.” Consequently, schismatics must be excommunicated and “compelled by the secular power” {that is coerced to submission or exterminated}. The recommendation to use coercion is supplemented with the reference to the Scriptures {in particular, by the text about punishment of those who rebel against Moses the Prophet and did not recognize him as “a prince” over them  – Numbers 16:12–33} [Summa Theologica II–II Q.39 a1, a2, a4; italic in the original text].

        However, the original text of the Holy Scriptures is about rebellion against God and His chosen one, as well as about the dignity of priesthood established by God Himself, not about coercive authority of Moses. Moses was God’s servant who spoke on behalf of God, he did not seek any authority, and he was a meekest man from all men of the Earth. Yet, because of the will of God, Moses saw the glory of God, he was with God, and God spoke to him face to face as if one speaks to his friend and knew his face {Exodus 24:9–18; 33:11–13, 18–23; 24:5–10; Numbers 12:3, 6–8}. Therefore, the greatness of Moses is defined by the will and mercy of God, not by the hierarchies of men: Aquinas misinterpreted the Holy Scriptures for own convenience.

The pope Boniface VIII (1294–1302) supplemented the Aquinas’ justifications of papal claim on the absolute spiritual and temporal power with the concept of “Two Swords”: the Church holds two types of power as two swords, but the temporal sword is under the spiritual sword. The pope argued that “as we learn from the words of the Gospel,” when the Lord told Peter to put up his sword into the sheath, He confirmed that Peter – and through him, the pope – has the temporal power [The Bull Unam Sanctam, 1302, in: Documents of the Christian Church 126–127].

In fact, the pope Boniface VIII follows the Origen–Augustine–Aquinas’ tradition of misinterpretation of the Scriptures, because the referred by Boniface VIII text discloses misunderstanding of Peter the disciple. Peter attempts to hinder the mission of God, as he already tried to convince God do not go to Jerusalem, because the meaning of the words of God is still hidden from him. God not only forbade Peter to use the worldly weapon, He also healed the wound of the servant from the sword of His disciple. The actions of God were predicted by Zechariah the Prophet: “Not by army and not by power, but My Spirit” said the Lord Almighty to Zerubbabel, the builder of the Second Temple and one of the ancestors of the family that accommodated the earthly life of Lord God Jesus Christ {Matthew 1:12–13; 16:21–23; Luke 3:27; 18:31–34; 22:49–51; John 18:10–11; Zechariah 4:6–9}.

The mission of the Christian Church cannot be accomplished with the weapon or temporal power. The Christian Church is another realm – she is a possession of Almighty God, where the primitive power of weapon and other means of coercion of men are irrelevant and worthless. Yet, the papacy did exactly the things forbidden by God: it imposed its dogma with the sword, by force, deceit and coercion, and it employed the weapon, death, and destruction as the means to gain the temporal power and to support own pretense on the possession of the “share of dignity” and on the place of God.

These two examples, which illustrate the destructive role of hierarchy, lead to the conclusion that the earthly attributes of power are not compatible with the Christian Church, moreover, those who attempt to reign over the Church of God must face own inevitable destruction.

For instance, many theologians and philosophers who lament the destiny of the Byzantine Empire and devote their poetically tuned minds to the “Byzantine studies” forget to analyze the significant detail: the main reason for the ruin of the Byzantium Empire is the imperial intervention into the Church’s internal affairs and replacement of the will of God by the emperor’s orders. The initial recognition of the emperor as a bearer of “the image of heavenly empire” and the “friend” of God, who draws his strength from “an imitation of God’s monarchy” [Eusebius the theologian and bishop of the 4th century, ref. and qtd. in: Meyendorff 32] culminated in acknowledgment of the power of the earthly ruler over the Christian Church, after which the Byzantine Church became the part of the imperial hierarchy. Two following examples illustrate the sphere of the imperial power:

1/ one of the Byzantine patriarchs of the sixth century declared that nothing must be done in the Most Holy Church against the will and commands of the emperor [ref. in: Diehl 33, 166]. The Patriarch’s declaration proves that the ruling circles of the Byzantine Empire assumed the right of the secular establishment (the empire) to dominate over the Christian Church. However, any secular ruler has no authority over the Christian Church. There is only one Head of Church and one Head of all authorities – Lord God Jesus Christ {Colossians 1:15–18; 2:8–10}, thus, any attempt to subdue the Church would result in the unavoidable destruction of the self–proclaimed earthly “head of the Church,” usually along with his establishment

2/ the inhumane methods with which the emperor controlled the Church: in the seventh century St. Maximus the Confessor (A.D. 580–662) was tortured and condemned to mutilation for his confession of the Christian Faith inconsistent with the will of Byzantine emperor Constans II; however, later, the monothelite heresy was rejected [e.g., in: Pelican 4–5, 9].

The assimilation of the Byzantine Church by the earthly empire was accompanied with modification of the Church, which was submitted to the secular authorities and recognized the emperor’s power over the Church, although the Christian Church has the only one Ruler and Authority – Almighty God. The following indications of decay [e.g., in: Diehl 33, 37, 110, 141, 143–147, 164–165, 167–171; Pelican 4–5] describe visible phase of disintegration of the Byzantine Empire, which culminated in the inability to protect Constantinople from the Catholic Crusaders:

                –– the continuation of inherited from the heathen Roman Empire cruelty and crimes against humanity, the state policies founded on violations of the main laws, which describe the civilized human societies: the law of inviolability of human life, law of freedom of religion, and law of freedom of choice

                –– decline in the morality

                –– corruption, weakness, and insufficiency of the  governmental  system

                –– accumulation of the excessive earthly wealth by clergymen and monasteries

                –– political opposition of clergy and monks to the state and the intervention of the clergy into the state affairs.

And I think that the ability to discern the signs of destruction always is suppressed by all hierarchies, probably, because for those who usurp the place of God there is no tomorrow: only today exists, while they fill their belly with the treasures given by God to all the people and satisfy themselves with their own iniquities {Psalm 16(17):14}.

When I read the official press releases concerning the religious hierarchical establishments, especially those with the “enthronement” speeches, with the references to the patriarch–archbishop–pope’s “thrones,” with the careful staging – who lighted candles after who or proceeded in a procession of the “divine clergy” after who, or who “duly paid his respect” to who, I always recall that our God and Savior – Lord Jesus Christ and the only Teacher and King over His Church and over us, the Christians, did not possesses the place to lay His head {Luke 9:58}.

And I think of the actual meaning of the power of the establishment whose leader pretends to have the “share of dignity” of God and to stay in the place of God, who through all levels of the world–wide hierarchy controls billions provided by the subjects, yet, who is not able to restrain the pedophile passions of the clergymen, to eliminate scandals, and to make the places of worship safe for the subjects’ children. In the Past, this establishment unleashed the terror of the Crusades and the Inquisition, waged religious wars and persecutions, put to death multitude of human beings labeled as heretics, schismatics, witches, yet, this establishment willingly cooperated with Fascism and Nazism. This establishment substituted heresy for the Christian teachings and with its own crimes against humanity made the name of Christianity subject of hatred and mockery. The period of its “absolute” power, which is also known as the Dark Ages*3*, became the core of the contemporary crisis in morality and faith, which now is destroying the Western civilization.

Through atrocities of the Crusades and the Inquisition, through religious wars, persecution and extermination of the different–minded initiated by the papal Church of Rome, the European civilization collapsed into the heathenism and began self–annihilation with the destructive philosophical doctrines and their offspring – ideologies, with the ethics–free materialistic sciences, irrational system of education, and mass culture based on slavery, immorality, and the cult of death. Eventually, the European nations “progressed” from the Crusades and the Inquisition to the loss of humaneness, and dignity: they substituted ideology for religion, and slavery of evil for the ideals and freedom of Christianity. The results are well known from the history; for instance, bloodshed and unspeakable crimes of religious and political unrest, wars, and revolutions of the fifteenth–twentieth centuries (e.g., England, France, Russia), and establishment of the totalitarian states of the twentieth century (e.g., Germany, Italy, Spain, Russia), which assassinated countless millions of human beings and deprived of freedom and human dignity those under their control.

Centuries of the Crusades, religious wars and persecution, forceful conversion of the Jews, and the terror of the Inquisition created the deep animosity among “the people of the Book” – the followers of the three greatest religions – Judaism, Christianity, and Islam, which all have the mutual root in the Books of Moses, therefore, which all are able to co–exist in peace and prosperity.

With such a Past, which kind of Future the papal establishment carries for its subjects and those who are ready to kneel before the papal authority?

For instance, when ecumenism is victorious and the papal church of Rome subdues the Christian Churches, will the apologies to the victims of sexual abuse become the new teachings of the duly enthroned “universal shepherd and teacher” of the unified “Christendom”? What else such teachings would reveal –“God of philosophers” chosen by “Christian faith” {to the contrary, see Colossians 2:8–10} and the necessity of “thinking the faith” in “absolute conformity to the Magisterium” and with “careful attention” to the teachings of the bishop of Rome*4*? Which kind of additional heresy the papal establishment might invented now,

–- after the place of God was taken

–- after the name of God was usurped to cover “teachings” of the Magisterium and the philosophical writings of the Prefect of Inquisition

–- after the papal law to burn people alive at the stake, which the papal theologians sacrilegiously named “the law of Christ” {Henry of Susa (1271) and Jean d’Andre (1348) – ref. in: Vacandard 128}?

So, had not the time come to name the things with their real names and

a) to reserve the name of “Christianity” only for the teachings of Lord God Jesus Christ, and the name of “Christian” only for those who follow the teachings of Lord God Jesus Christ, not the “other gods” of the philosophical and magisterial fashion

b) to discern the earthly hierarchy of coercive power based on Aquinas’ political theology behind the ecumenism armed with the slogans of “Christian Unity”

c) to deny any kind of unity with the papal church of Rome until it accepts the Christian teachings {that is until it converts into Christianity}, for instance, until

                – the papacy forfeits its claims on spiritual supremacy and any other kind of supreme power over all Christendom

                – the papacy rejects the official doctrine of the papal church of Rome – the Aristotle–Aquinas’ political theology and accepts the Christian teachings

                – the papacy dismantles the Magisterium and the Inquisition and acknowledges that the foundation of these departments of the papal office is the heretical Aquinas’ doctrine

– the papacy restores the morality and ethics of Christianity along with the sanctity and value of marriage between man and woman as the blessing and precious gift of God according to the Apostolic traditions {the Apostolic traditions of the Christian Church do not include rejection of those men who, while living according to the human nature (have a wife and children), are willing to serve God as the priests}, defrocks and discharges pedophiles sitting at all levels of the papal hierarchy, and becomes able of prevention any further sexual abuse of children

– the papacy repents for the crimes against humanity committed by the Catholics under the authority and commands of the papacy, for instance, such as the Crusades, the Inquisition, the forceful conversion, assassination of rulers, robbery and deprivation of property and good repute of the non–Catholics, execution of the different–minded and schismatics, interference with the secular authorities, cooperation with Fascist and Nazi regimes

– the Roman Bishop restores the Apostolic traditions of early Christianity, firstly, the Cup of Eucharist for the laity…

 

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 Notes: 

*1* It would be interesting to identify the reason for a strange phenomenon – the desire of some ordinary men

to intervene between communication of the others with God

to deprive the others of the freedom of will granted by God

to assert own opinion as the only rule how to worship God and to live the very own life.

Evidently, this desire indicates the masked pride and either self–deification or idol–worshiping habits, which are the symptoms of the irreversible stage of inner destruction. However, what is the key, which opens the possibility for a perfect creation of God to become the beast of prey, therefore, to chose degeneration–death, to reject life of reason, and to substitute own cruelty for the God’s commandment to love one another? At the present stage of development of the behavioral sciences, this choice might be detected only after it has been made and already manifests itself with

the attempts to restrict (or deprive completely) the others’ freedom of thinking, freedom of will, and freedom of choice

– the attempts to impose own will, manner of thinking over the others

– the attempts to assert own absolute power – spiritual or secular over the world.

Simultaneously, these attempts indicate the beginning of the irreversible phase of disintegration of the establishment.

 

*2* Thomas Aquinas (1225?1274) was a Dominican monk and a main theologian of the papal church of Rome, whose brethren–inquisitors enthusiastically exterminated the Albigensian–Manichean–Cathari heresy. The Dominican Order (this order includes for instance, such members as the assassin of Henry III, king of France, and inquisitor Jacobo Sprengero – the author of Malleus Maleficarum) recognized Aquinas doctrine as its official teachings. The Dominicans began to defend the Aquinas’ doctrine with the same diligence with which they exterminated heretics.

        The Roman pope John XXII canonized Thomas Aquinas in 1323; the papal theologians named him the greatest philosopher, and the popes highly praise him [see the papal references in: Kreeft 11; Synave and Benoit 9; New Catholic Encyclopedia 14:109–110]. 

        According to the official opinion of the papal hierarchy, “the inner harmony, the essential compatibility” exists between the Aquinas’ thought and the doctrine of the Roman Catholic Church: Thomism is the Church’s answer to “the most pressing problems” [New Catholic Encyclopedia 14:109–110].

        The Code of Canon Law determines that all Catholic priests must be trained with the Aquinas’ doctrine, principles, and method. In the beginning of the twentieth century, during pontificate of Pius X, Aquinas’ Summa Theologica became the textbook for all papal institutions. Contemporary scholastics present Thomism as the alternative to modernization of Catholicism with nouvelle théologie, which might be linked with marxism and existentialism [Dulles 120–121].

        After Aquinas’ death, some Catholic theologians and members of the papal hierarchy unsuccessfully attempted to condemn Thomism, at least indirectly, while the countries, which rejected the papal authority, discarded Thomism completely. After canonization of Thomas Aquinas (in 1323), any papal subject who refutes the Aquinas’ doctrine might be deposed from the papal office and might face condemnation for heresy [New Catholic Encyclopedia 14:129–130, 132]. Until now, the loyal papal theologians do not dare to expose the actual meaning of the Aquinas’ political theology {for instance, such as the doctrine of Mani and heathen philosophy – see Heresy, posting for July 6, 2008 – Archive, Page_2}; the subject of their disagreement with Thomism involves mostly the philosophical issues.

        At present, the Aquinas’ doctrine, referred as “neo–Aristotelian system” [Holmes 7] or as “Christian Aristotelianism” [McKeon 149] remains the official theological doctrine of the papal church of Rome: it is the core of the Magisterium’s teachings and basis of the papal politics.

 

*3* Gar Baybrook names the suppression of the Bible, acceptance of the heathen beliefs as the articles of the Catholic faith, and “the dictatorial methods” of the papal hierarchy as the reasons why the history of humankind has “the Dark Ages” [Baybrook 427–428].

 

*4* in: Vatican Information Service – VIS News:

                “Pope Praises Cardinal Ruini and Greets Cardinal Vallini” – Num.122 of 06.27.2008

                “Pope Highlights the Vital Role of Philosophy” – Num. 108 of 06.09.2008.

 

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 References:

Aristotle. Politics. Trans. Ernest Baker. Revised with an Introduction and Notes by R.F. Stalley. Oxford, England: Oxford University Press, 1995.

Bacon, Roger. "The Opus Majus (Selections)." Selections from Medieval Philosophers. Part II: Roger Bacon to William of Ockham. Ed. and trans. by Richard McKeon. New York, Chicago, Boston: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930. 7–110.

Baybrook, Gar. Heresies of the Christian Church. Payson, Arizona: Leaves of Autumn Books, 1998.

Diehl, Charles. Byzantium: Greatness and Decline. Trans. Naomi Walford. New Brunswick, New Jersey: Rutgers UP, 1957.

Documents of the Christian Church. Selected and edited by Henry Bettenson. 3rd ed. Ed. Chris Maunder. Oxford, U.K.: Oxford University Press, 1999.

Dulles, Avery Robert. The Craft of Theology: From Symbol to System. New York: Crossroad, 1995.

Grun, Bernard. The Timetables of History: a Horizontal Linkage of Peoples and Events. Based on Werner Stein's KULTURFAHRPLAN. 3rd revised ed. New York: Simon & Schuster and Touchstone, 1991.

Holmes, Arthur F. Christianity and Philosophy. Chicago: Inter–Varsity Press, 1963.

Thomas Aquinas (Saint). Basic Writings of Saint Thomas Aquinas: Summa Theologica I–I, I–II. Summa Contra Gentiles. Ed. Anton C. Pegis. New York: Random House, 1945. 2 vols.

Thomas Aquinas (Saint). Summa Theologica. v. 2: Parts II–II, III. First Complete American Edition in 3 volumes literally translated by Fathers of the English Dominican Province. New York, Boston, Cincinnati, Chicago, San Francisco: Benziger Brothers, 1947. 3 vols.

Thomas Aquinas (Saint). Truth. Trans. Robert W. Mulligan. 1954. Indianapolis/Cambridge: Hackett Publishing, 1994.

Kreeft, Peter. "Introduction." A Summa of the Summa: The Essential Philosophical Passages of St. Thomas Aquinas’ Summa Theologica. San Francisco: Ignatius Press, 1990. 11–22.

McKeon, Richard. "Introductory Notes." Selections from Medieval Philosophers. Part II: Roger Bacon to William of Ockham. Ed. and trans. Richard McKeon. New York, Chicago, Boston: Charles Scribner’s Sons, 1930. IX–XVIII, 3–6, 111–117, 149–158, 235–239, 303–312, 351–359.

Meyendorff, John. Imperial Unity and Christian Division: The Church 450–680 A.D. Crestwood, New York: St. Vladimir’s Seminary Press, 1989.

New Catholic Encyclopedia. v. 14. Washington, DC: The Catholic University of America, 1967. 17 vols.

Pelican, Jaroslav."Introduction."Selected Writings by Maximus the Confessor. Trans. George C.Berthold. Mahwah, New Jersey: Paulist Press,1985.1–13.

Synave, Paul, and Pierre Benoit. Prophecy and Inspiration: A Commentary on the Summa Theologica II–II, Questions 171–178. Trans. Avery R. Dulles and Thomas L. Sheridan. New York: Desclee, 1961.

Vacandard, Elphege. The Inquisition: A Critical and Historical Study of the Coercive Power of the Church. 1915. Trans. from the 2nd edition Bertrand L. Conway. Merrick, New York: Richwood Publishing, 1977.

 

Sunday, July 20, 2008

 

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The Power of Coercion

 

…Not by mighty power, nor by strength, but My Spirit, said the Lord Almighty…

{Zacharias 4:6}

 

The meaning of the power within the hierarchical systems (civilization–state–society–establishment) always is correlated with the power of coercion intended to subdue and to manipulate the material subjects (e.g., to enslave men, to accumulate wealth, to build fortresses).

At the lowest levels of social and political development, the highest point of coercive power is associated with the control over human body and resources, which sustain life: a human being might be executed, tortured, starved to death, chained, abused, sold as a slave, subjected to corporal or other punishment, forced to perform bodily (according to Aristotle’s definition) services, and so on – up to the full potency of evil imagination of the owner. 

At the highest levels of social and political development, the coercive power encircles the free will, conscience, and freedom of choice; those who are more skilled in the art of deceit generate the greatest impact. In the most advanced establishments, the human mind is subjected to the scientifically proved brain–washing techniques since the very moment a child begins to discern the connection between his action/word and the consequences for his body.

The main battle with the innate nature of human mind – that is with freedom of thinking, free will, and other inseparable components of intelligence–reasoning–faculty of deliberation – begins with the entrance into educational institutions. This battle lasts until the subject’s mind is transformed into a typical easily replaceable part of the society–community–establishment that is into the typical receptacle of ready–to–be–consumed opinions and portions of “knowledge,” which define the behavior of a perfect citizen–member–property of the establishment, or until a particular person is judged to be unmanageable, therefore, destined to annihilation.

Physical death of a body sets a limit of any kind of coercive power: coercion at any level is actualized with the material objects (e.g., weapons, armies, newspapers), and any type of coercion comes to the end with destruction of the material target. At the same time, if a slave chooses death as the method to obtain freedom, his choice inflicts a detriment to the slave–owner’s interests, so, the power over body definitely, is not enough to sustain the mighty hierarchies.

Consequently, when the people began to worship gods, the first attribute, which all idols received from their inventors, was the absolute power of coercion: over life of a body and over post–mortem destiny of the soul. Since, as the result, a human being is expected to spend the earthly life in the prison of slavery, ignorance, and fear, without any expectations of freedom in the after–life, because the pharaohs, emperors, kings, popes, and other rulers claim the power over the realm of dead souls in the same fashion they rule the realm of the living bodies.

The Christianity began with a proclamation of the absolute freedom of man: any coercion is not compatible with the will of God. The meaning of the Christian freedom is the knowledge of the divine nature of man – the nature of a free being created in image and after likeness of God. Even within the most inhumane societies, by the mercy of God, any mind is empowered to obtain

– freedom from evil and sin {John 8:31–36; 1 John 3:6–10}

– love and knowledge of God – the perfect Love without fear and suffering {John 15:9–10; 1 John 4:16–19}

– love to the others – by actions and in truth {John 13:34–35; 15:12–13, 17; 1 John 2:9–11; 3:14–18; 4:20–21}

– life everlasting in the kingdom of God {John 3:35–36; 10:27–30; 11:25–26; 14:1–3; Revelation 21:1–4; 22:3–5}.

The people who cognized the Christian freedom and learned to love God and His creations live {think and act} according to the Law and commandments of God, in the love of God, and without fear. They are given the peace of God, and they are enlightened and comforted by the Spirit of God Who dwells in them {John 14:15–28; 1 John 2:3–6, 17; 4:18; 5:3}.

The Christian teachings unfolded within the heathen Roman Empire, which absorbed worst kinds of evil created by philosophers and diviners of the Past. The heathen Roman Empire was founded on the Aristotle’s universal pattern (master––slave), and it instituted the elaborated hierarchy of slaves – all were slaves and in all spheres of life: state, politics, religion, society. No actual difference existed between the senator and his slave: the senator was slave of the “divine emperor” who could execute any of his senators as any of his senators could kill his slaves. However, the “divine emperor” was the first among all slaves: although he possessed the highest power of coercion and “divinity,” he had to think and act as the slave of his idols (including political, philosophical, and theological assumptions, which sustained the imperial hierarchy) and of his own power over the others.

It seems to be an irrational assumption: how the highest authority in a possession of the highest power of coercion might be a slave? Yet, this is the law: there is no freedom for those who deprive the others of their freedom. Those who act by coercion, firstly, exterminate own free will and live in the constant fear to be overthrown, murdered, exiled, or betrayed/sold.

So, which kind of power besides the power of coercion could exist in the world of slaves? The Holy Scriptures provide some insights into the sphere of this transcendent power – it is absolute omnipotence revealed as much as the human mind is able to comprehend the meaning of the omnipotence of God:

– this power is the source of life {John 5:26}

– before this power, death is impotent {John 11:25–26; 32–44}

– the mind in a possession of the power, which Lord God Jesus Christ promised to bestow on His disciples, is omnipotent as much as the creation of God must be omnipotent within the world given into the dominion of man; such a mind carries the Kingdom of God within, it is the temple–dwelling of the Living God, it has the power over life and death, it has the peace of God, and it conquers the world {John 14:12, 15–17, 23–27; Luke 9:51–56; 10:9, 16–20; 17:20–21; Acts 5:1–10, 15; 8:6–7; 9:37, 40–42; 28:3–6, 8–9; 1 Corinthians 2:11–13; 3:16–17; 1 John 5:4}.

At the same time, no one of those who possessed this power ever applied it toward the world of material subjects, which are the sphere of the power of coercion. Beginning with the answer of God to the most powerful man in Judea {John 18:36; 19:9–11}, continuing with the writings of His Apostles {1 Corinthians 1:27–31; 2:4–8, 12–13; 4:9–13}, and completing with the multitudes of those who preferred death for their beliefs to the ugly servitude and submission to the heretics and idol–worshipers, it is the same simple, yet undisputable message:

 

the power and wisdom and glory of the world of men is nothing before God

Who sees the human heart and judges intentions.

 

Not by the power nor through philosophy and deceit according to the traditions of men and nor by the physical strength and military force lives a soul–mind–reason of man. A human being lives by the Holy Spirit of God, by each word from the mouth of God–Creator and Redeemer. The history of collapsed civilizations and ruined empires, which in their times, were the mightiest establishments in a possession of all the resources they needed to survive and prosper, conveys the simple lesson: all the power of men is nothing if it is not sustained by God. At the same time, the weakest and the humblest are omnipotent if the Holy Spirit of God dwells in them and if, for His purposes, God protects them until they accomplish His will.

And I think: the conflict of the powers of this world with God seems to be inexhaustible.

Indeed, the Omnipotent Creator came into His Own house, and His creations did not accept Him: they crucified Him.

Then, during the last two thousand years, the heathens, heretics, idol–worshippers of all kinds and fashions constantly strive to erase the very memory of God, to pervert each word He spoke, to exterminate those who follow Him in faith and dignity, to deceive and to corrupt those who are weak, and to enslave those who have no wisdom to remain loyal to the faith of their ancestors.

So, is any hope left for us, the Christians, to live in peace and to worship our God without danger to be enslaved, manipulated, and used for the service to those who have no faith and love, therefore, no life in them?

When I attempt to understand how we, the people, came to the end of the road with nothing accomplished but the war, deceit, and coercion, and why we reaped such a plentiful harvest of death, the only explanation I can find is that this limited and insufficient world, into which man transformed the perfect Earth created by God, is alienated from the Creator {John 15:18–21; 18:36–37}. We have to pass through it because we wanted the knowledge of evil, so, we are learning the ultimate evil as much as we are able to comprehend death. Moreover, we made death our inseparable companion, and she probes, poisons, and ruins everything we have or create. Yet, all the tests and trials are over, and all the powers of coercion dissipate when we realize that the evil and death have no authority over us – the children of God {Matthew 10:28–31; John 1:12–13}…

 

 

Sunday, July 13, 2008

 

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