The Bible, to some, is the written word of God. To others it is an example of how human beings should live. And for some, it is the greatest surviving work of fiction in human existence.
No matter what your opinions, to find truth in the Bible you must first examine the text and decide for yourself what it means to you. Despite the concrete translations often given for the gospels, the text cannot be effective until you read it with an open mind and see it through your own eyes.
This is the first of hopefully more pieces to come, where I’ll examine several verses and/or quotes from the Bible that happen to hold significance for me personally. I’ll also incorporate what I feel these words mean on a global and spiritual scale, when necessary.
I urge you to share your thoughts.
“For now we see through a glass, darkly; but then face to face: Now I know in part; but then shall I know even as also I am known.
(1 Corinthians 13:12)” King James Version
When you look into a mirror, what do you see? You see your reflection. But is this really you? Well, it is and it isn’t. It is your physical reflection, but does it reflect you spiritually? This quote gives hope that after death, wherever our souls end up, we will know the truth. All physical and superficial matter will be stripped away, and we will be left with what matters: Our spiritual half. And this spiritual half will shine through and show our true colors, whereas now it remains sadly invisible to most.
Interestingly, this quote uses the terms “now,” as in the present, and “then,” which represents the past, vs. a future tense. And so, instead of referring to life after death, this quote could be referring to returning to the source- our Creator- which perhaps is only possible in death and rebirth. Whether or not you believe in past lives or reincarnation, you can’t deny that when we are born, we are born into a world of judgment- good or bad, right or wrong. It is this conscience which is the true root of original sin, and thus, seeing “then face-to-face,” could equate to returning to this state of mind where “mind” doesn’t exist.
” — Even as also I am known,” the end of the quotation, further exemplifies this idea that our souls have existed since the beginning of time. When we return to the Creator, we will know the truth, and will see that time is not linear, and we have existed before, just as we will exist again.
“And I will ask the Father, and he will give you another Counselor to be with you forever- the Spirit of truth. The world cannot accept him, because it neither sees him nor knows him. But you know him, for he lives with you and will be in you. (John 14:16-17)” New International Version
Relating to the first quotation, these words also echo the merits of truth. Quite literally, “Counselor” (or Advocate, Helper) is “the Spirit of truth.” Just like the concept of God, many will not accept that there is a spiritual world simply because they cannot prove it (Or perhaps this “Spirit of truth” is actually the man/figure/concept we call “God”). Yet even more saddening is that perhaps the truth, what really matters, only exists in spiritual form. This emphasizes what is so blatantly repeated in the Bible- that we must have faith, and that just because something can’t be proven, does not mean it doesn’t exist.
Still, although the world does not know the Spirit, “he lives with you and will be in you.” This reflects the idea that our Creator is inside all of us, and it does not take a world religion or a church to tap into this source, for essentially, when once creates, they are imitating God in his truest form. And so, even if we only can see our spiritual half when we pass into another realm of existence, we all contain a spark of this being that can and should be released in this life, whenever possible. While a spiritual half may seem quite literally an intangible concept, I like to think of it as a guardian angel, or a shadow that follows you wherever you go; perhaps this spirit is you in another life- The version of you that has witnessed the Spirit of truth, and the version of you that you’ll eventually meet after the death of the physical body.
“Lay not up for yourselves treasures upon earth, where moth and rust doth corrupt, and where thieves break through and steal: But lay up for yourselves treasures in heaven, where neither moth nor rust doth corrupt, and where thieves do not break through nor steal: For where your treasure is, there will your heart be also. (Matthew 6:19-21)” King James Version
Quite simply, money won’t buy you happiness, greed will get you nowhere, and you won’t need your material possessions in the grave. Yet more importantly, this quote makes a reference to one’s Heart, in that those who truly live by what’s inside of their heart will not be divided internally, as so many who live materialistically are. This inner division is the cause and effect of many things, but namely it is the human predicament of identity. Because life often tells us that we have no purpose in the world, we turn to objects to give us purpose. Even turning to other people to find out who we are can be dangerous, as what belongs in our heart, and truly the only thing that matters, is how we see ourselves; not how others see us. We go about buying the newest products to make ourselves appear younger, live longer and enjoy life to the fullest- But really these “needs” serve as a mere disguise for our fear and insecurity towards death. That is what is truly scary- not that we will die, but that while we’re busy consuming as consumers, death can happen at any moment (Just as they say that “life happens when you’re making plans”).
And so, just because you like to live a life of decadence or hedonism, or just because you enjoy shopping and buying the newest product, does not mean you’re deemed for hell or even a bad person. It simply means that there are more important and lasting things to value and worship than objects. Some might call it love, some dreams. But even in those vague terms lies a piece of our identity that can’t be tarnished.
“Remember Him before the silver cord is broken and the golden bowl is crushed, the pitcher by the well is shattered and the wheel at the cistern is crushed; then the dust will return to the earth as it was, and the spirit will return to God who gave it. (Ecclesiastes 12:6-7)” New American Standard Version
In another version of this quote, the beginning is, “If ever the silver cord be loosed — “- which I feel is more appropriate, as the beginning of the quote above might fool one into thinking simply that they better remember God before they die. However, this quote very much reminds me of the conclusion to Stanley Kubrick’s “2001: A Space Odyssey.” While I won’t delve into nor spoil what happens in the film, essentially what should be focused on is the “silver cord” in this quotation.
Some believe that just as humans have a physical umbilical cord that’s severed at birth, so we have a cord that attaches our soul with our physical bodies in life, and which must be severed from our physical body in order to return to God and be born again. Essentially it is the opposite of what happens in the birth process (and it has been noted as silver in color). While many relate this term to astral travel/projection and kundalini, I feel what’s important to note is that we can be reborn; we are given another chance, if not in this life, in a future life. While the world today seems to be divided into strict, overly-religious Christians and New-Agers with loose morals, we shouldn’t forget that the Bible itself has symbolic undertones and was not meant to necessarily be taken too literally or too figuratively. If you do believe in a future Judgment Day, try not to think in terms of a global apocalypse, but rather an individual’s awakening from “sleep,” where those who have passed on will be finally freed, if deemed so, to return to God.
“But the Spirit explicitly says that in later times some will fall away from the faith, paying attention to deceitful spirits and doctrines of demons, by means of the hypocrisy of liars seared in their own conscience as with a branding iron — (Timothy 4:1-2)” New American Standard Version
While often the Bible mentions that false gods and prophets will come about at the “end of days,” it is clear that these figures have been around since the beginning of time. And whether or not you believe in the devil, it’s essential to remember that the most accurate and common form of evil is slander. No one knows when the “end of days” will come, or if it has already passed, and as I mentioned previously, my personal view of this time rests more on an individual than global level.
Essentially, I feel we all in our lifetime, if not in this life but the next, will have to come face-to-face with opposition from such “liars” and “hypocrites,” while it should be noted that if we’re not opposed to them, we most likely are one of them. And it should be plainly obvious already just how many new religions and preachers (let alone people) are frolicking about in a guise of good intentions when most likely they serve quite the opposite purpose, while anyone today can scream they’re Christian without actually living a Christian life. All talk and no action. Even priests are guilty of this.
But on to deceit — It is one thing to be evil for the sake of being evil, but it’s another to speak and act in apparent good-will when your heart, your core, is cruel and hateful- and this of course applies to both individuals in their singular relationships and people in power who have control of the group. This is the true nature of deceit- The poison is hidden inside, and it destroys the spirituality of others, leaving them empty. It should also be noted that “deceitful spirits,” in its simplest terms, are the spirits of people. There is a clear difference then between the spirit and the soul, the latter which is eternal.
Therefore one should hope that whatever comes after this life, wherever our souls will end up, that those who deceive in this life will not have the luxury of transforming their tongue in the next- That is, their intentions will forthright be shown.