Then you first come to the time of the Old Testament, where people lived ‘under the law’. God was feared, life was based on fear, and people fought according to the principle ‘an eye for an eye and a tooth for a tooth’. And then you come to the moment when the Christ impulse was connected to mankind. The idea became alive that God is love. People learned the principle:
Love God above all things and your neighbour as yourself.
Gospel of Marcus 12 verse 30
If someone slaps you on one cheek, turn the other.
Gospel of Luke 6 verse 29
That gave a completely different image of God. Jesus also said:
If someone possesses the goods of the world and sees his brother or sister in need and closes his heart to him, how can he love God?
New Testament, The First Letter of John 3 verse 17
This idea was enthusiastically received by the first (gnostic
But the conservatism and the fear and thirst for power of those who lived under the law had not simply disappeared. For two thousand years this created a wave between following the ideals and following (the excesses of) the instinct. Soon Christianity was corrupted and the rulers ensured that the masses were once again ruled by fear and governed by ecclesiastical laws. This led from crusades and heretical persecution to witch burning and religious wars, from the Thirty Years’ War to the Eighty Years’ War. Actually, between the periods of peace and prosperity, there were always wars, diseases, and disasters. It was entirely in line with the Old Testament thinking to see them as God’s vengeance. And the pastors brawled from the pulpit that people had to repent.
What was the point of this endless shifting back and forth between instinct and ideal? Should people learn from this in their successive lives? The Bible says:
My people are lost because they have no knowledge.
Bible Hosea 4 verse 6
The church fathers had quickly removed the Eastern idea of reincarnation and karma from their teachings. This did not suit them: there was only this life, and then hell or at least purgatory. That was what kept the fear going.
And yet: God is love. But, the church taught, his ways are unfathomable. We only have to believe that we will be redeemed after this life. Until Darwin appeared with his survival of the fittest, until the doctrines of the big bang and of coincidence gained more and more followers, and no God was needed anymore. Everything could be explained. There was no more why, no Plan, no intention, except to sustain the species.
In the meantime the Gnostics worked in silence to spread the knowledge of the heart. From that knowledge the Plan and the intention became clear to those who were sensitive to it. That was the idea: the microcosmic human being was engaged in a laborious learning process on earth, which continued from life to life. Until finally an experiential fullness would be reached, and from a whole new longing the divine spark in the heart could be ignited in God’s light (God does not forsake the works of his hands!). Then man would be able to turn around, to turn from his centripetal attitude to the God-seeking, and thus embracing mankind’s attitude to life. Return to unity. That is the Plan, that is the intention.
But man is part of ‘a rebellious people’. He had discovered how he could acquire more luxury for himself, that was his focus and it was never enough. A place suitable for cooking had to become a super luxury cooking island, a simple means of transport had to become a super luxury car with the latest gadgets. One holiday was not enough, nor was it considered far enough. It could not go on. And let’s be honest, we too were more or less involved in this, in miniature. It also happened on a large scale. One country had the tallest building, another country went over it with an even higher building. One country had a JSF, another country had to have one too, but more advanced. The sky was the limit, in every respect. The earth was robbed, the air and the seas became polluted and poisoned, the destruction potential exceeded many times the number of people on earth, animal and plant species died out, people got all kinds of new diseases.
But we overstepped our mark. All sorts of things happened that were not expected. Accidents with nuclear power plants, extreme increase in cancer and recently a virus that threatens to suffocate the entire human race. Or that otherwise threatens the poorest part of humanity with starvation because of the collapsing economy. And those who still have a Bible may remember the Book of Revelation, where the angels pour out the scales of wrath upon the world. Fires, floods, poisonings, terrible tumours, suffocations and famines. It’s all true.
Is that the God of love, who foretells this through the prophecy and vision of John on Patmos? Or is that the Old Testament revenge?
It is simply the law of karma, of cause and effect. It is the natural law of correction. Mankind has loaded a world karma on itself, increased the tension so much that the planet and nature and the human body can no longer tolerate it, and an extreme discharge must follow.
God is love. The law of karma is also part of divine love. What man sows, he must reap, the tension must discharge, the earth must come to rest and so must man. You hear many people say that repentance and silence are a blessing. This is what they unconsciously longed for, in all their hurrying and rushing. And so it may indeed be the Intention, it is part of the Plan. It is an attainment of experiential fullness, an acceptance that nothing will be the same again, an awareness of the true purpose of being human. This is how it works, a new insight is a new opportunity to move from counter-movement to moving along with the Plan. The Book of Revelation ends cheerfully:
I saw a new heaven and a new earth, and the first heaven and the first earth were passed away.
Revelation 21 verse 1