Thursday, November 29, 2012

Jesus' Discourse on the Evolution of the God Concept among the Jews !

There is a narration in my favorite book which explains, in a matter of fact manner, how Jesus taught  his twelve disciples about the manner in which the concept of God evolved to the reach to that existed among Jews who lived in and around Jerusalem at that time.

The basis of his teaching was the recorded history that they had at that time in the form of their holy scriptures (the old testament bible that we know today).

The human race, at least some of it, had acquired the mental and intellectual growth level that was required for comprehending some essential aspects of the Infinite Being that they vaguely conceptualized as God.

And that was the beginning of a new epoch in the evolutionary history of mankind on earth !

Now what did Jesus taught them about their evolving concepts of God ?

He was recapitulating the gradual growth of ideas about God in human minds during the previous few millenniums, especially among the Israelite who lived in the regions of Palestine and Egypt.

Let me reproduce below this  narration as given in Paper-132 of the book which I referred above. 

Jesus mildly upbraided the twelve, in substance saying:

"Do you not know the traditions of Israel relating to the growth of the idea of Yahweh, and are you ignorant of the teaching of the Scriptures concerning the doctrine of God?"

And then did the Master proceed to instruct the apostles about the evolution of the concept of Deity throughout the course of the development of the Jewish people. He called attention to the following phases of the growth of the God idea:
1. Yahweh—the god of the Sinai clans. This was the primitive concept of Deity which Moses exalted to the higher level of the Lord God of Israel. The Father in heaven never fails to accept the sincere worship of his children on earth, no matter how crude their concept of Deity or by what name they symbolize his divine nature.

2. The Most High. This concept of the Father in heaven was proclaimed by Melchizedek to Abraham and was carried far from Salem by those who subsequently believed in this enlarged and expanded idea of Deity. Abraham and his brother left Ur because of the establishment of sun worship, and they became believers in Melchizedek’s teaching of El Elyon—the Most High God. Theirs was a composite concept of God, consisting in a blending of their older Mesopotamian ideas and the Most High doctrine.

3. El Shaddai. During these early days many of the Hebrews worshiped El Shaddai, the Egyptian concept of the God of heaven, which they learned about during their captivity in the land of the Nile. Long after the times of Melchizedek all three of these concepts of God became joined together to form the doctrine of the creator Deity, the Lord God of Israel.

4. Elohim. From the times of Adam the teaching of the Paradise Trinity has persisted. Do you not recall how the Scriptures begin by asserting that “In the beginning the Gods created the heavens and the earth"? This indicates that when that record was made the Trinity concept of three Gods in one had found a place in the religion of our forefathers.

5. The Supreme Yahweh. By the times of Isaiah these beliefs about God had expanded into the concept of a Universal Creator who was simultaneously all-powerful and all-merciful. And this evolving and enlarging concept of God virtually supplanted all previous ideas of Deity in our fathers’ religion.

6. The Father in heaven. And now do we know God as our Father in heaven. Our teaching provides a religion wherein the believer is a son of God. That is the good news of the gospel of the kingdom of heaven. Coexistent with the Father are the Son and the Spirit, and the revelation of the nature and ministry of these Paradise Deities will continue to enlarge and brighten throughout the endless ages of the eternal spiritual progression of the ascending sons of God. At all times and during all ages the true worship of any human being—as concerns individual spiritual progress—is recognized by the indwelling spirit as homage rendered to the Father in heaven.
Never before had the apostles been so shocked as they were upon hearing this recounting of the growth of the concept of God in the Jewish minds of previous generations; they were too bewildered to ask questions.

As they sat before Jesus in silence, the Master continued:

“And you would have known these truths had you read the Scriptures. Have you not read in Samuel where it says: `And the anger of the Lord was kindled against Israel, so much so that he moved David against them, saying, go number Israel and Judah’?

And this was not strange because in the days of Samuel the children of Abraham really believed that Yahweh created both good and evil.

But when a later writer narrated these events, subsequent to the enlargement of the Jewish concept of the nature of God, he did not dare attribute evil to Yahweh; therefore he said: `And Satan stood up against Israel and provoked David to number Israel.’

Cannot you discern that such records in the Scriptures clearly show how the concept of the nature of God continued to grow from one generation to another?" 

Yes, let me ask that last question to the peoples of the current era:

Can you not discern from the books and the records that are with you now to realize how the concept of the nature of God continue to grow in your minds?

As for me, I realize how this has grown in my mind!

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