A.C. : One of the deep thinkers about “substituted love” was Charles Williams, the premier Inkling with CS Lewis and JRR Tolkien.
Is there a way to understand Jesus’ Passion on the cross as indeed a sacrifice but not as an atonement? Atonement Theology, which necessitates and angry, wrathful God who demands payment for sins, has been a central interpretation of mainstream Christianity for most of its 2000 year history.
A.C.: I don’t think all atonement theories necessitate an angry, wrathful God. My favorite is Ireneus’ s.
See what you think. Some of the other versions of atonement are more like you are thinking.
Is it wrong? In more modern, progressive circles, Jesus’ death was an inevitable consequence of what happens when a nondual Master teacher fully engages a highly dualistic society and shines a light on its shadow. The light burns and must be put out or the fire becomes uncontrollable; that is the fear. Was Jesus’ death just an accident in history? Another good man put to death too soon, too young? How can we understand that both of the above interpretations may be true?
A.C.: That does not account for Jesus being conscious ahead of time and choosing the cross in order to achieve his and the Father’s higher purpose. NDE’s and other data support the idea that our death’s timing and manner are chosen between lives for definite purposes.
Substituted love may be at the very heart of the Jesus Passion narrative and one of the great Christian contributions to global spiritual understanding, yet it has been largely missed or misconstrued because it takes a more non-dual mindset to get it. Perhaps we are ready now; and if we are not, we will need this kind of mindset soon. So let’s jump in and find the water…. very nice, indeed.
A.C.: Until I could think archetypally, I didn’t appreciate the genius and integration of Ireneus’s understanding.
To begin to understand substituted love, we should ingest the idea that Jesus died not to change the mind of God about humanity (as in Atonement Theology) but to change the humanity’s mind about God.
A.C.: And to provide an energized pattern for our growth and development and for the death of ego-centrism in order to live a live “from above”. You must be “born from above.”
To understand substituted love, we will need to be comfortable in occupying both this world and the imaginal realm, or astral world, at the same time. Both exist simultaneously anyways but for much of human history, we have either tried to escape this world (ie never allow ourselves to be fully incarnate here in this earth and thus concentrate on the afterworld or the heavens or proving the divinity of Jesus) or we have felt squeamish about the world beyond our five senses and just concentrated on the present space/time. Substituted love requires us to inhabit both space/time and time/space and see with larger eyes that not only see what is reflected by light in this world but also pick up the energies and noetical causal realities that are at the origin of things that we pick up with our five senses. The access to time/space is the heart which as Cynthia Bourgeault points out, is the actual seat of the nous (not the mind). The heart field of knowing is the centerpoint of the x axis of time/space and y axis of space/time and one can learn how to navigate both simultaneously via intuition, active imagination, and inner seeing.
With this in mind, let us look at substituted love. The way I would understand it (not an expert!) is that substituted love is an act of self-gift wherein one voluntarily (of free will) lessens the karmic burden of another. What if Jesus’ death was an act of “romantic” love in that he was so in love with humanity (and thus became the perfect, most pure vessel for Christ Consciousness) that he voluntarily entered the karmic energy field that had built up throughout history and relieved it of its pressure.
A.C.: This makes sense. Many would argue he “paid” for all sins at all times; we just need to apply the payment by requesting or “receiving”.
He created a sinkhole in the bloated astral fields of chaotic lower frequency that make up karma and followed the sinkhole all the way down to the very depths of the hell realms. By voluntarily facing the energies of hatred and fear and even STS negative polarization he revealed the sheer might and power of powerlessness and thusly and ironically robbed the very center of the opposing energetic force.
A.C.: A la the Harrowing of Hell.
How? He did not take the bait of the tit for tat worldview that was the only worldview at his time. He then completely embodied the archetype of the scapegoat and acted as a sponge to withdraw the karmic negativity from our planet, thus setting the ground work for the Harvest to the 4th Density that would happen more than 2000 years later.
A.C.: Yes; good pick-up. The scapegoat idea is very Jewish. The idea of karma can help both Jewish and Christian appreciation of their own doctrines, I believe. But they would have to accept the validity of reincarnation.
God as Creator is not wrathful or spiteful or demands that His Son die a bloody death as a sacrifice to appease His just anger upon sinful and lowly humanity. This would be the shadow side of Atonement Theology and a storyline that I have no doubt is pushed by the negatives.
A.C.: Good point! And if our level of consciousness gravitates to such dualistic interpretations, then we swallow it in all its harshness.
Instead, what if we could understand that while the Creator is not wrathful, there did indeed exist a karmic buildup caused by humanity. Earth is populated by souls who have incurred a lot of karma throughout the eons. Ra says that those entities of Maldek destroyed its own planet and slowly incarnated here in various forms on the inner planes of Earth as well as Bigfoot bodies. The human population is made up of a third who are “native” having evolved from the ape 2nd Density bodies. A third are from Mars who Ra states came here after having destroyed their own atmosphere in a global war; and a third are from other planets who transitioned to 4D pos and 4D neg but these souls did not “make the cut” and needed more time to evolve or choose polarities. In other words, Earth is a huge school for mostly mixed souls with confused polarizations. Thus, as Ra also reports, most of the souls on Earth (at least in 1980’s) were still largely unpolarized and not ready to harvest to the 4th Density. Nevertheless, the possibility of harvest on a global scale was actually made possible, I would argue, by Christ’s death on the cross and the subsequent releasing of the Holy Spirit which descends and ignites the 4th chakra of each person provided they want that energy.
A.C.: Makes sense to me, but not until recently was there much thought movement to non-dual levels. You might enjoy Phillis Tickle at this point.
Jesus’ act of substituted love did allow for planetary karmic reduction and provided humanity with a model to imitate with individual acts of substituted love. We participate in the archetype that Jesus became , which we call the Christ, when we allow our own heart frequencies to open and match the frequencies of the metaheart of Jesus which pulses all around us. What ignites our heart to burn from a small smolder to the flame of love that existed in the heart of Jesus is the Holy Spirit. In this way, Jesus’ death did not change the mind of God about us because the Logos is and always has been “for” us.
A.C.: Sounds Franciscan according to what Rohr says. What do the Capuchins say about the atonement?
+Author: These days there’s not much difference between the Caps and the OFMs. The Caps were a reform movement of the OFMs in the 16 century and they desired to live a simpler life and a more intentional imitation of Francis’ life. Nowadays, there is no real difference as far as I can see and I’ve really studied this area. The differences instead lie between the different provinces as to whether the province is more progressive or conservative, etc. The Capuchin Province that I love, St. Joseph’s Province (and I’ll be traveling there in two weeks to give a day-long workshop on the Enneagram to young volunteers embarking on their year/2year service stints) is considered VERY progressive in their application of theology.
But our own decisions within the freedom of freewill began to punish us (we are punished BY our sins not For our sins) and weigh us down into karmic debts that could not be “paid off” by ourselves.
A.C.: Yes, but ultimately, since God set up the Karmic system (the buck stops there), one could argue it is God punishing us too. How would you deal with that in your thinking?
+Author: this is a great question. I have no problem stating that God, as Creator punishes us since all is the Creator. So from a non-dual, Absolute Reality, then… yes, God punishes us for our sins. On a more relative level, I’d say that the Lords of Karma, which some say are 8th D beings, are charged with the Karmic balance on macro and micro scales. They administer the flows of intelligent energy (as they are one with the Creator) and are the active principle of the Creator (individualized quanta or portions of intelligent energy?) and possess infinite wisdom to do so with perfection so that less evolved sub-sub logoi grow via their karma towards realization of their (inherent or already existing) unity with all. Karma is mercy applied, from a certain point of view. The way I (poorly) understand it is that the Creator (Galactic Logos) just pumps out love and life and light and is the font or source of overflowing intelligent energy. In this way, “God is always ‘for’ us.” or the Father is always in the process of begetting; or in Law of Three terms, the Creator is Holy Affirming force. However, built into the cosmic equation of growth, there needs to be a Holy Denying Force. This is the “sin” or obstacles that we put up the block the Trinitarian flow within us. Finally, we have the Holy Reconciling Force that allows the Relative Creator sub-sub logoi to climb the next rung of awareness provided that the karmic lesson is learned. So in the end, we could say that all is God and God punishes. We could also say that there are three functions of God that play different parts. From a Relative perspective, it would “look” like that God as Source would not punish but always affirm and create, as mentioned before. As Julinan of Norwich wrote, “First the fall, and the recovery from the fall, and BOTH are the mercy of God.”
The Christian life is one that not only allows us to evolve as individuals towards unity (such as some of the Eastern religions would teach) but to voluntarily take on some of the burdens of others so that they too can evolve more easily.
A.C.: One aspect of Evangelical apologetics is to argue the “uniqueness of Jesus”. I think they get it wrong, because they make it exclusionary of other faiths. Yet, there is a natural desire to want to understand what was different about the Jesus message and journey compared to others. Further clarification of how to understand what is unique would be emotionally satisfying to the listener, I suspect. Perhaps you can make that a separate writing sometime if you feel lead.
+Author: Yes, this would be a good piece to reflect on. Catholic apologetics says that same.
Its a communal effort. And what was at the very center of Jesus’ message through his life, death, and descent into the hell realms? Forgiveness.
The natural result of the path of substituted love is the conscious ability to forgive on multiple levels. Forgiving means to detach from expectations and it is like removing rocks in a stream so that the flow of the Triune God can run its course most effectively. In other words, and I conclude here, the Creator as Absolute loves itself fully and offers itself as total self-gift to the Creator as Relativity. In order for Creator as Relative Truth to love itself as fully and then to offer itself back to the Creator as Absolute Truth, it must have a clean and clear, streamlined vent in which to thrust forth the ecstatic flow of love. Relativity can only do this when there are no impediments to the flow. And the only way to remove impediments is to forgive. Thus the circle dance of the Trinity is reestablished on a micro and macro scale. Thus are we saved.
A.C.: I like this. The rocks in a stream metaphor works for me. To use a “vent” as a metaphor works also and is different than I have ever heard. The different metaphor would be useful to some. I find the rocks in stream metaphor more emotionally satisfying, but that’s just me.
I like what is coming forth from your nous.