Monday, December 10, 2007

Q: Mortals vs. immortals

This query came in from Jayne:

We are taught that everyone is a child of God.. yet… we frequently read that mortals are not the children of God..... sounds a little confusing... are good people immortals... and bad people mortals.... who are these mortals who are NOT the children of God????? I am looking for some answers and hope you can explain... Thanks Jayne

Thanks for the question, Jayne! I'll give you what I believe, and I hope others will weigh in as well.

This question reminds me of Jesus' parable of the sheep and the goats:

31 ¶ When the Son of man shall come in his glory, and all the holy angels with him, then shall he sit upon the throne of his glory:
32 And before him shall be gathered all nations: and he shall separate them one from another, as a shepherd divideth his sheep from the goats:
33 And he shall set the sheep on his right hand, but the goats on the left.
34 Then shall the King say unto them on his right hand, Come, ye blessed of my Father, inherit the kingdom prepared for you from the foundation of the world:
35 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me drink: I was a stranger, and ye took me in:
36 Naked, and ye clothed me: I was sick, and ye visited me: I was in prison, and ye came unto me.
37 Then shall the righteous answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, and fed thee? or thirsty, and gave thee drink?
38 When saw we thee a stranger, and took thee in? or naked, and clothed thee?
39 Or when saw we thee sick, or in prison, and came unto thee?
40 And the King shall answer and say unto them, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye have done it unto one of the least of these my brethren, ye have done it unto me.
41 Then shall he say also unto them on the left hand, Depart from me, ye cursed, into everlasting fire, prepared for the devil and his angels:
42 For I was an hungered, and ye gave me no meat: I was thirsty, and ye gave me no drink:
43 I was a stranger, and ye took me not in: naked, and ye clothed me not: sick, and in prison, and ye visited me not.
44 Then shall they also answer him, saying, Lord, when saw we thee an hungered, or athirst, or a stranger, or naked, or sick, or in prison, and did not minister unto thee?
45 Then shall he answer them, saying, Verily I say unto you, Inasmuch as ye did it not to one of the least of these, ye did it not to me.
46 And these shall go away into everlasting punishment: but the righteous into life eternal.

Matt 25:31-46

At first glance this does seem to imply that individual people will go one direction or another. But for me, what this story means is that each person's good *qualities* will be rewarded, and their evil tendencies purged. We're both the sheep and the goats. In other words, in this mortal seeming, we appear to be both mortal and immortal.

No human being is unadulterated good or evil. We all express goodness and perfection, and we all experience fear and sin. When we enact our better natures through good deeds, love, intelligence, inspiration, we are aligned with the immortal reality of our being. When our fears or desires get the better of us and we slip into regrettable behaviors or thought patterns, we are too close to the mortal and need to be awakened to the truth.

Because immortality is real and mortality is not, every mortal tendency is eventually purged in the alchemy of spiritual growth. What remains for all eternity is only the gold of our character, the immortal qualities that were always inherent in us as God's creation.

How should we then regard our fellow beings? With compassion, seeing the gold and helping it to shine through, rather than accepting only the mortal as the real. There are no "good" people who are immortal and "bad" people who are not. Each one's good qualities are immortal, and the bad (the self-destructive, the harmful, the useless) are burned away.


Your ideas and inspiration are welcome! Please comment below or Contact Laura.
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At 12/10/2007 11:07:00 AM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

Laura - there is a citation I like from Mrs. Eddy's book 'Unity of Good' which supports your fine explanation:

'Human beings are physically mortal, but spiritually immortal. The evil accompanying physical personality is illusive and mortal; but the good attendant upon spiritual individuality is immortal. Existing here and now, this unseen individuality is real and eternal. The so-called material senses, and the mortal mind which is misnamed 'man', take no cognizance of spiritual individuality, which manifests immortality, whose Principle is God.' (Unity of Good, pg 37)


At 12/11/2007 11:45:00 PM, Anonymous Chadwick said...

Here're my thoughts on the Mortal/Immortal thing:

Immortals are those created in the 1st creation. Immortals are the children of God and created in his image and likeness. Created with dominion over everything.

Mortals are the false idea created in the 2nd creation. The Adam dream. The false belief that there can be something equal to or more powerful than God. Actually, the idea that there can be anything that is not God, aka, a talking serpent.

I thought last weeks lesson really touched on this with the passage about the city with it's gates open IN BOTH WAYS. (I forget the page number in S&H, if you know it, please post...) Those gates were never closed day or night. The city was illuminated by light. Light from neither sun, nor moon...but the light of God. This is where Immortals, the children of God, reside.

The mortal dream can never enter that city. It is but a shadow, an illusion. The everpresent light of the city shows that the idea that any of us can be mortal is nothing more than nothing.


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