scripture, spiritual doctrine

“All sacred Scripture can be divided into flesh and spirit as if it were a spiritual man. For the literal sense of Scripture is flesh and its inner meaning is soul or spirit. Clearly someone wise abandons what is corruptible and unites his whole being with what is incorruptible.

“The law is the flesh of the spiritual man who here corresponds to sacred scripture; the prophets are the senses; the Gospel is the noetic soul that functions through the flesh of the Law and the senses of the prophets, revealing its power in its actions. …

“He who fulfills the law … abstains from the actual commission of sin. … he who has been trained by the prophets’ words not only refrains from the outward fulfillment of the passions but also renounces all assent to them in his soul.” ~The Phyilokalia

Two Sides of Scripture

I have never thought of comparing the two levels of scripture with the two levels of man, but it makes perfect sense to do so. It also helps explain why certain types of people misinterpret scripture, while others—the more spiritual ones—make perfect sense of it.

The Physical Side

Those people who are caught up in the physical realm and think matter is just what it appears to be rather than illusion are likely to interpret scripture literally. This interpretation is not completely wrong, just limited. It is like the person who sees the iceberg only as the ten percent above water. Then they wonder what happened when their boat hits the much larger part that is underwater.

Some knowledge of ancient history can be found in scripture. In that sense, the literal interpretation is useful. The problem is that much of scripture, regardless of which religion produced it, was never intended to be taken literally. It is purely symbolic. A good example is circumcision. It was never intended to be used to maim male infants. It was a spiritual circumcision that was intended by the prophets. An even more extreme example is a cult in India that follows the teachings of a certain guru now dead. That guru said that men should be more like women if they wanted to become spiritual. The members of the cult, using a literal interpretation, castrate themselves and dress in women’s clothes. That, of course, does not make them spiritual at all. Fortunately, it’s a small group.

Religious and spiritual books are not the only place we find this confusion. Perhaps the most common form of it in the modern world is found in teen slang. Words like “cool,” “dude,” and “bae” become nonsense if interpreted literally. The same with most scripture here truth was intentionally hidden in allegory to keep the unworthy from understanding it.

The Spiritual Side

The person who has become spiritually awakened, even to just a small degree, can usually see that a literal interpretation of most religious writings produces nonsense and is not what was intended. So they may not understand all of the allegory, but they quickly become aware that much of scripture is allegory.

They realize, for example, that angels don’t have actual wings. What would be the point? Angels are spirits and have no weight. An angel can be anywhere instantly just by thinking about it. They don’t fly, they float. Gravity has no effect on spirits.

And once you realize that scripture has hidden meaning within it, you will start to notice hidden meaning in other things as well. Then you will see hidden meaning in novels, movies, and paintings. You will hear it in music and lyrics. Sometimes, you will even see hints of it in architecture and graphic design. In a few cases, the artist was a spiritual person and put it there intentionally. In most cases, however, the artist was simply inspired by a muse from the spiritual realms.

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