works of sinners

Works of Sinners and Works of God

“Marvel not at the works of sinners; but trust in the Lord, and abide in thy labor: for it is an easy thing in the sight of the Lord on the sudden to make a poor man rich. The blessing of the Lord is in the reward of the godly, and suddenly he maketh his blessing flourish. Say not, What profit is there of my service? and what good things shall I have hereafter? Again, say not, I have enough, and possess many things, and what evil shall I have hereafter? In the day of prosperity there is a forgetfulness of affliction: and in the day of affliction there is no more remembrance of prosperity. For it is an easy thing unto the Lord in the day of death to reward a man according to his ways. The affliction of an hour maketh a man forget pleasure: and in his end his deeds shall be discovered. Judge none blessed before his death: for a man shall be known in his children. Bring not every man into thine house: for the deceitful man hath many trains. Like as a partridge taken and kept in a cage, so is the heart of the proud; and like as a spy, watcheth he for thy fall: For he lieth in wait, and turneth good into evil, and in things worthy praise will lay blame upon thee. Of a spark of fire a heap of coals is kindled: and a sinful for he worketh wickedness; lest he bring upon thee a perpetual blot. Receive a stranger into thine house, and he will disturb thee, and turn thee out of thine own.” ~Ecclesiasticus

Works of Sinners

What Ecclesiasticus means by “the works of sinners” is those things made by or deeds done by man, which are not done in accordance with the Law of God. Such creations may seem like wonderful things to materialistic people, but they are not. When are done without taking God’s Law into account, they may harm the environment, waste natural resources, give off harmful radiation, or otherwise cause damage to the world.

Obviously, things like murder, rape, and theft are the works of sinners, but Ecclesiasticus is talking about the less obvious ones. The buildings we build, the statues and monuments, the labor-saving devices that make us fat and lazy.

So he advises us to trust in the Lord, meaning let God guide us in all our endeavors and we will then not be doing the works of sinners. Continue reading “Works of Sinners and Works of God”

Share
good beauty

Good Beauty is Spiritual Beauty

“The perception of Beauty and the awe and the stirring of passion towards it are for those already in some degree knowing and awakened: but the Good, as possessed long since setting up a natural tendency, is inherently present to even those asleep and brings them no wonder when some day they see it, since it is no occasional reminiscence but is always with them though in their drowse they are not aware of it: the love of Beauty on the contrary sets up pain when it appears, for those that have seen it must pursue. This love of Beauty then is later than the love of Good and comes with a more sophisticated understanding; hence we know that beauty is a secondary: the more primal aperition, not patent to sense, our movement towards our good, gives witness that the Good is earlier, the prior.

“All that have possessed themselves of the Good feel it sufficient: they have attained the end: but Beauty not all have known and thaose that have judge it to exist for itself and not for them, as in the charm of this world the beauty belongs only to its possessor.

“The source of this error is that while both the Good and the Beautiful participate in the common source, the One precedes both.” ~Plotinus

Good Beauty

When it comes to physical beauty, what is considered beautiful changes. We find over the last century or two that what most considered a beautiful woman has gone from abundant curves to rail-thin and back again. And what women consider an attractive man changes also. Even at the same time, we find different ideas of beauty in different countries and social structures. The pampered male model of New York City would not be considered a thing of beauty among primitive people or country folk who would find his spoiled dandy look and pasty pale skin sickly.

But Plotinus is complicating the concept of beauty even more by adding in that to a good person beauty is different than it is for others. He goes so far as to indicate that only the good can even have a concept of beauty. That, I think, is nonsense. Everyone can have a concept of beauty, but it differs depending on whether or not they are what Plotinus calls good.

Beauty of the Good

What Plotinus is saying, I believe, is that the good see beauty in a way that differs from how others see it. That is not at all surprising. But he goes a little beyond that and says that the good beauty is the only true beauty. While he has a point, I’m not sure we can say that it is entirely true. But to understand it better, let’s look at the beauty of people who are not “good”, which really means those who are not spiritually awakened.

Ordinary Beauty

One way of looking at what is beautiful among a particular group is to look at their art. When we look at the art of today, even if we ignore abstract art and art that is intentionally ugly to make a point, we see art that often ignores such things as divine proportion and divine harmony. It is like the hard-rock of painting or sculpture. Many find it beautiful, but not because they feel peace and harmony when they look at it, but because it grapes them with discord and uniqueness. Many think that the more unique the art is, the more beautiful it is. But art can be unique without violating the rules of divine proportion and harmony.

Good Beauty is Spiritual Beauty

It is fairly clear that those people who Plotinus calls Good are those who are spiritually awakened to some degree. They are people who put spiritual values above materialistic ones. So such people will see art different than most. They will notice divine proportion and harmony and value it. They will notice are that invokes positive thoughts and images like peace, love, and joy. They will generally not care for art that depicts the horrors of material life such as war, murder, and disease. They know that despite what the artist may think he is doing, such art will normalize the horrible making it more acceptable. The spiritual person wants to stop the horrors. They see good beauty in art that depicts the best of nature. They see good beauty in people who give off an aura of goodness and sacredness. Good beauty is something they value. Art that exists simply to make money is of no value to them at all.

So Plotinus says we must be good before we can know good beauty. While there is some truth to that, there is another way to look at it. We can train ourselves to love the art that is truly beautiful, that is spiritually beautiful. We can promote good beauty and surround ourselves with it. That can aid us in our spiritual growth so we can become good spiritual people. Then we become part of the Good Beauty in the world.

Share
good and evil

Good and Evil, Positive and Nagative

“Life on Earth is a combination of good and evil, happiness and suffering, love and hate. The life of a man contains contains great lessons about good, bad, love, and hatred, for which he pays dearly. Be glad when you come across evil, be glad when you come across good. Be glad that people die, and be glad that people are born. Death comes to changes one’s old and worn-down cloth with a new one. Evil comes to teach you a lesson.

“Holding on to evil thoughts and negative feelings in you will surely bring you a disaster or disease. By holding on to negative thoughts and negative feelings, you attract the negative powers of the world.

“One achieves good results when he works in good disposition of his spirit. Divine consciousness works in man when he is in good disposition.

“A thousand years is not enough to achieve something, if you ever achieve anything without working with love. … Act with love. There is no other power that can soften a man’s pride.” ~Biensa Douno

Good and Evil

Some people, and apparently some spiritual schools, believe that duality doesn’t exist. They say there is no good or evil. Everything is equal, everything is as it should be. This is the philosophy of sheep and fools. But it doesn’t surprise me that it is popular. Many governments, and their corporate sponsors, love nothing more than turning people into contented sheep. But believing this is saying that rape, murder, theft, etc. are acceptable. Sorry, but I have no respect whatsoever for anyone who accepts that as true.

Douno, like most sensible spiritual teachers, does accept that we live in a world of duality and good and evil coexist in it. But accepting that both exist, doesn’t mean we accept that both are equal, or that both should be embraced. There is no evil in heaven. We don’t create a heaven on earth by accepting it here. We don’t rise to higher levels of consciousness by allowing the lowest levels to control us.

Great Lessons

There is some value in evil deeds. Sometimes, the evil-doers of the world serve as excellent agents for karmic debt. That doesn’t excuse the evil they do. As Douno mentions, another way that evil serves a purpose is to teach us a lesson. How successfully it does that varies depending on the individual. Others say that good and evil must both exist in order for us to have free-choice. It also gives us a contrast between the two sides. This still does not make evil deeds and thoughts acceptable. We can’t pretend they don’t exist, but neither can we embrace them.

Birth and Death

Douno advises us to be glad that death happens, saying that death replaces the old with the new. While this is true, death of the old and worn out is necessary only in a realm where things and beings age and decay. That happens only in the material world, the realm of the Demiurge. Aging and decay don’t happen in spiritual realms. Thus there is no reason for death to exist there, so it doesn’t. So in the world of matter where good and evil both exist, we accept that death is necessary. Yet we also accept that it shouldn’t be that way and when this world is transformed back into spirit, all death will end.

Dueling Duality

Not all cases of duality can truly be considered as good and evil. Male and female are both necessary for the reproduction of humans and most other lifeforms on Earth. Yet such reproduction is only necessary because life in the material universe is temporary, and therefore might be considered mildly evil. And bathing in extremely hot water is uncomfortable, if not dangerous. The same for very cold water. So we mix some cold with the hot to get a good temperature for bathing. So male and female, hot and cold, might be considered examples of duality that are not a good and evil pairing.

Negative Thoughts

Douno advises that clinging to negative thoughts and feelings leads to disaster or disease. While that may be an extreme version of it, there can be little doubt that negative thoughts and feelings lead to irrational decisions. And irrational decisions are rarely good ones.

Worrying

While some might argue that sometimes worry can be a positive emotion, there is little doubt that it is usually a negative one. On the scale of good and evil, it definitely falls on the evil side. I’ve known people who would worry so much about things that were not true, and over which they had no control anyway, that they made themselves physically ill. I know in my own case, my blood pressure always goes up when I go to the doctors because I worry that the doctor will find something seriously wrong. If I could go into the doctor’s office with an attitude that I will be congratulated for doing such a good job of maintaining my health, my blood pressure would stay low.

Fear

Fear is another negative emotion that is very common and incredibly harmful. Not only can fear, like worry, raise your blood pressure, affect your digestion, or otherwise harm your physical health, It will cause many irrational decisions. Sadly, in the United States now, we are witnessing this with a president and his staff that encourage fear to divide and conquer. This puts fear way over to the evil side of the good and evil scale. For more on fear, check this older post about Fear of Death.

Change for Good

The good news is that we do have the ability to rid ourselves of negative feelings and thoughts. There are many methods of doing this, and I’m not going to go deeply into any of them. There are plenty of books that can help if needed.

Visualizing is one popular way of making a change. That can include getting your attitudes over to the good side of the good and evil scale. If you find yourself worrying about something, you simply close your eyes and visualize a solution. For example, if you are worried about being able to pay a bill, visualize yourself making the payment without thinking about where the money will come from. That may or may not work, but it is worth a try. But you can’t just visualize it, you have to believe it when you do.

Spiritual Good and Evil

Yes, there is good and evil involved in spiritual growth. First, there are evil spirits. Whether you call them demons, devils, or negative forces doesn’t matter. That they exist and like to encourage us to do evil does matter. So we have to be on guard for this and be sure we are not making decisions based on negative thoughts or suggestions from those evil spirits. And at the end of each day, consider everything we did that day and consider how we could have done better. Even if we are already on the good side of the good and evil scale, we can always do better.

Share
God is good

God is Good, and Only Good

“It follows that the true God is called all powerful by the sages, in everything he does, has done, or will do in the future, but that those who think accurately cannot call him all powerful with regard to his supposed power that he might have to exert and that he has never exerted, that he never will exert, with regard to creating a god of evil. As for the argument that says that if he does not do it …

“Since God is not powerful in evil, nor has the power to appear to be evil, we must believe firmly that there is another principle, which is he who is powerful in evil. From him come all evils that have been, that are, and that will be. About him David surely wanted to speak when he said, ‘Why do you glorify yourself in your malice, you who are powerful only for committing an iniquity? Your language has contemplated injustice. You have sharpened your razor to let trickery sneak in. You have more evil than good, and you have preferred a language of iniquity to that of justice.’ And Saint John says in Revelation: The great dragon, the ancient snake, who is called devil and Satan, the deceiver of the whole, lived in the world and was flung down to earth. And Christ in the Gospel of Luke has said: The seed is the word of God. The ones on the side of the road are those who heard. Then comes the devil, who takes away the word from their heart” ~The Book of the Two Principles

God is Good

It seems obvious to say that God is good, yet some people don’t seem to know that. Their confusion is understandable. They wonder how God could be good when there is obviously much evil in the world. The Gnostics seem to be the only ones who have a logical answer, yet they have been largely ignored. God is good and only good. He can’t be sometimes good and sometimes evil. While it is true that humans who are considered good can still have a bit of evil in them, such is not true when we get to the level of God or even angels and Beings of Light. God must be either all good, all the time, or not really good at all. At that level of being, it is all or nothing. But again, there is clearly evil in the world.

The answer is that the worlds of matter are not the creation of God. They are created by a lesser being known to Gnostics as the Demiurge.

Demiurge Is Not All Evil

One might think that following the same logic, if the real God is pure good, then the false god must be pure evil. But that isn’t the case. The Demiurge is a lesser being, not at the same level as God. The absolutes of God don’t apply at the lower level. So while we understandably see the Demiurge as evil, he isn’t pure evil. In fact, I don’t think he ever intended to do evil.

When the Demiurge created the dimension of matter, I don’t believe he thought of it as evil. It was only after the mistake was made that he realized what a mess he had created. A land of beings and things that are constantly being destroyed and replaced by others. A land where beings have to survive by eating other beings. This was a complete horror to him. It wasn’t his intention at all. It happened that way only because he wasn’t truly God, and so his creations had unintended flaws.

Yet just as the courts of today say that ignorance of the law is no excuse, ignorance of defying the laws of God doesn’t forgive what the Demiurge did. He created a place full of evil, thus making him the god of evil whether he intended that or not.

Another Principle

The quote says this god of evil is “another principle”. Not another being, another principle. I think the point it is trying to make is that if God is good and only good, he could not have intentionally created an evil being. God had to create the fallen angels, who became the Demiurge, as good beings. A force, a power, or principle outside of God, affected them and made them into a being of evil. Since we are not gods, it is hard to understand this. A force of evil had to exist in the realm of God because God had free will, therefore the beings he created had to have some degree of free will also. And in order for free will to have any meaning at all, there had to be alternatives to choose from. Thus this force or principle of evil had to exist. And it exists to this day and on the physical level as well. Some let this force control them. Others resist successfully. But even those who fall for the force of evil are beginning to understand that serving the true God of good is the best choice to make.


Illustration by Karin Henseler.

Share