Lesson 8: Revelation
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As has been noted, virtually all spiritual traditions have holy scriptures or sacred texts that reveal God or truth to the adherents of that tradition. Questions of truth and reality have been raised with regard to literal vs. symbolic interpretation of scripture.
Did an incredible event or apparent miracle “really” happen? Is the literal, factual reality of an event essential to convey a profound truth? Or might it simply be symbolic, like dream symbols or poetry?
Is all scripture divinely inspired and infallible or is there room for human error in the recording or subsequent transmission of sacred texts?
Application: Analyze your own beliefs and values regarding religious scriptures that you have read and studied. Determine within yourself what you believe with regard to fundamental issues such as literalness, infallibility, and sacredness.
The video overview for this lesson considered various ways in which God can be revealed, including human history, personal relationships, meditation, and nature.
To be sure, direct experience of the divine is not without risks. Remember that the Hebrew Prophet Moses had to remove his sandals when walking on holy ground. Care must be taken to avoid being scorched by vocal burning bushes, and so on. As the saying goes, when you talk to God, it is called prayer. If God talks back, that is schizophrenia. Revelation, in any of this various forms, can be a powerful encounter. As with psychic development, revelation is probably best left as a sign along the spiritual path rather than being pursued as a direct experience of the divine. In other words, allow God to do the revealing when you ready for it.
Application: Examine your own beliefs about revelation. Do you believe that the Divine still reveals itself directly to individual humans as has been described in the various religious traditions? Do you believe in personal revelation? Has God ever been revealed to you? In addition to any beliefs you may have examined regarding holy scripture and sacred text in the previous exercise, what about revelation in more mundane ways such as through nature or personal relationships? Is God revealed through human history, meditation, in dreams, psychic experiences, or other altered states of consciousness?
An Advanced Study
The Edgar Cayce readings encouraged the study of the John’s Revelation, the last book in the Christian bible, for personal development. Yet, it was also called “an advanced study” and caution was provided with regard to offering it to those just beginning a search for God.
The video overviews in a few lessons cite examples of how John’s revelation can be used at the personal level. Having worked through the numerous lessons and exercises to this point in the series, John’s revelation may be helpful for your own soul development.
Application: Read the Revelation. Determine within yourself whether it has value or relevance in your life at some level. If so, how would you interpret it? Is it a literal prophecy of the “end times?” Does the personal interpretation approach recommended by Edgar Cayce seem plausible or worthwhile? If so, do you think you are ready for this “advanced study?”