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Reason for concealment of the actual meaning of the tenth commandment
96,1. Here are some who have read the preceding saying: We are seriously curious about what this commandment has for a proper permanent purpose, since every sense we have previously attached to this commandment has irrevocably been drawn into the absurdly ridiculous as it was presented. We seriously would like to know who is the "you", and also, the wife? For out of this commandment, nothing can be established with certainty. "You" may well be anyone, but whether a woman can be understood by that is still uncertain. At best, the neighbor could be more closely defined, especially if one takes that word in a broader sense, whereby then anyone who needs our help is our neighbor. But the wife is causing the greatest dilemma; because one does not know if a married woman or a single person of the female gender is to be understood. Of course, it is written as singular and not the multiple; but that does not make thematter any more specific. For if one accepts polygamy in any part of the world, then obviously the simple number would have a new catch. For all this, we are all the more curious about the true meaning of this commandment, in that the literal sense is everywhere wholly inconsistent.
96,2. And I say: So it is certain and clear that with the assumption of the pure external sense of the letter, only the greatest nonsense can be represented, but never any established truth.
96,3. It will of course be said here: Yes, why did not the Lord immediately give the law so that it would not be obscure for everyone, but appear quite open in the sense it actually exist and how it can be observed in that very sense?
96,4. This objection, at first sounds rather wise; but considered in the light, it is so stupid that one cannot easily imagine something more stupid. But for all to easily see the extraordinary absurdity of this objection, as if one would stand only a few miles away from the sun, and then suddenly see it up close - or like one who cannot see the forest for the trees, so I will make some natural, very brief observations for this occasion.
96,5. Let us suppose that a so-called naturalist and botanist would like to ask for the convenience of his investigation: Why did not the creative power of the highest Creator create the trees and plants in such a way that the inner core is outside and the bark inside? It would be easy to observe the rising of the juice into the branches and twigs and their reactions and other effects with a microscope? For it cannot have been the intention of the Creator to put the thinking man on earth in such a position that he should never penetrate into the mystery of the miraculous effects of nature. - What do you say to this desire? Is not it extremely stupid?
96,6. Suppose, however, that the Lord could be bribed by such a request and thus turn the trees and the plants inside out - will not other naturalists come in immediately and say: What good is the consideration of the external core, if we cannot discover the wonderful formation of the inner bark? What follows from this? The Lord would have to submit Himself again now and fix the bark and the core on the outside of the tree in an incomprehensible way. Suppose, however, that the Lord had really done so and the interior of the tree consists now only of wood. Will not another naturalist at once announce a new need and say: Because the bark on the one side and the core on the other, all the wonderful formation of the wood is now concealed. Could not a tree be designed so that everything, core, wood and bark were exposed or at least be as transparent as the air?
96,7. Whether one can make a tree with all of its countless many necessary organs as transparent as air or at least as pure as water is what opticians and mathematicians should decide. By the way, whether any fruit will grow on perfectly airy trees, may be experienced in the regions of the North Pole or South Pole. For there are sometimes such phenomena that, as in the winter, crystalline ice-trees burst open on the glass windows in the way you do in the winter, but there, in the air. Whether figs and dates appear on these trees, has not yet been determined.
96,8. With regard to the trees, where everything, core, wood, and bark, should be exposed, you can be perfectly assured that it would be just as easy to make a square ball as such a tree. I think that by this consideration, the stupidity of the above objection should be as clear as the sun before the eyes. But to make the matter, as usual, really excessive, let's add a few more considerations.
96,9. Let us suppose that when a doctor who has to study a great deal, and has already swallowed a whole heavy cart full of erudition like a polyp, is called to a dreadfully ill patient, he is often at the sickbed, like a pair of newly-tethered oxen on a steep mountain. The doctor is asked by the bystanders: How do you find the patient, what is wrong with him? Will he be able to help?
96,10. At these questions the doctor makes a scholarly, but still very questionable embarrassed face and says: My dears! Nothing can yet be determined; I must first proof the illness with a medicine. If there are any reactions, I'll know what to think about it. But if no reactions occur here, then you must realize for yourself that someone cannot look into our bodies to find out the location of the disease and its condition.
96,11. But somebody says somewhat laconically: Mister Doctor, our Lord God would have done better if He had created man like the carpenter does a cabinet that you can unlock and see what is inside. Or the Creator should have placed the more delicate parts, which can be so difficult to reach by means of the fingers, ears, eyes, and nose outside, so that this part can be easily helped with a plaster, an ointment, or with an bandage. But it would be best if He had either created man transparent as the water or He should not have made him with such life-endangering parts, but should have made him overall more like a stone.
96,12. The doctor wrinkles his nose a little, but still speaks: Yes, my dear friend, that would be good and better, but it is not the way you just expressed your wish. So we have to be content with it, if we are onlyable to depend on experience regarding the inner state of health and illness of a person by means of experience. For if man were also to open like a box, it would be much more perilous for every human being than it is, because only one little awkward grasp on the inside could instantly take a life. And if one were also able to inspect the entrails through such an opening, that would be of little use. The intestines and their fine organs would have to remain closed since all vital juices and every life activity would cease at the opening of the organ. But as far as the external positioning of the internal parts of the body is concerned, my dear, that would give the human form a most unattractive sight. And if the human being were completely transparent, each would be frightened of the other, for he would simultaneously see the skin-man, the muscular man, the vascular man, the nerve-man, and finally the bone-man. That such a sight would not be inviting, you can imagine for yourself.
96,13. I think that in this consideration, the foolishness of the above objection will be more obvious to you.
96,14. But there is someone else who speaks: It is, of course, absurd to think of natural, material things, that their internal things should at the same time make up their appearance. But the word in itself is neither a tree, nor an animal, nor a human, but it is in and of itself spiritual, in that it bears nothing material in itself. Why should it be like a tree or humans, or any incomprehensible inner meaning? Or how should this be possible considering the already extraordinary simplicity and flatness of the word?
96,15. Well, I say, let's take the word "father". What does it mean? Is the word already the father himself, or does the word signify a truly essential father, of whom this word is merely an external feature type? It will be said: Obviously here the word is not the father himself, but only an external designation of it. Well, but then I ask: What then must one understand under the word, so that one recognizes this word as an external, correctly identifying type? Answer: The word must be a man of an appropriate age, married, having produced living children with his wife, and then truly caring for them physically and spiritually.
96,16. Who can deny in the least that this rather stretched and exceedingly essential meaning must be contained in the simple word "father," without which this word would not be a word?
96,17. But even if in external relations every simple word must permit a more inward explanation and dissection, how much more must each external word have an internal spiritual sense, for everything which is signified by external words, has in itself an inward spiritual power and activity. A father certainly has a soul and spirit. Will the word properly describe the term "father" if it excludes the soul and the spirit? Certainly not, for the essential Father consists of body, soul and spirit, that is to say, something external, internal and deep internal. If, then, the essential Father is thus alive, then must not the word indicating the father, just as perfectly reflect as in a mirror in the Word, the Father in its essence?
96,18. I think that a necessary inner sense of the word cannot be represented more completely and clearly. From this, however, it can also be seen that the Lord, if He manifests His will in the world, cannot announce it to external people according to His eternal Divine order, except only through external, pictorial representations, which then is obviously supported by an internal one and an innermost sense. Through this, then, the whole man is supplied with Divine love from his inward to his utmost.
96,19. But now that we have more than demonstrated the necessity and the certainty of such an institution, it will be an easy matter to find the inner, true meaning of our law almost by itself; and as it is portrayed by me, at least to recognize the incontrovertible, the only true and universal. - And so we go straight to such a presentation!
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