1 Thessalonians 1 BHT, Paul’s First Words about the Word in the New Testament

An addition to the BHT, which may be the very earliest words written in the New Testament, around 50 AD, in Paul’s letter to the family who are gathering in Thessaloniki. Paul is exuberant about their faith, and talks about how they knew it for themselves through the manifestation of the Spirit in themselves, after much suffering, just like Paul and Jesus. Their great example was quickly spreading abroad.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 65 (rotated), dated to the 3rd century, an early papyrus manuscript copy of the New Testament, which contains the text of 1 Thessalonians 1:3-2:1 and 2:6-13.)

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All-Encompassing Light “First Vision” Accounts

Sometimes “First Vision” experiences are more subtle than others, while still being profoundly moving and life-changing. These can happen quite spontaneously, in any place or situation. The following two accounts come from an archive of over 6,000 first-hand religious or spiritual experiences from all around the world compiled by Sir Alister Hardy and now housed at the Religious Experience Research Centre (RERC) at the University of Wales, Lampeter. Continue reading “All-Encompassing Light “First Vision” Accounts”

Armella Nicolas’s “First Vision” Account

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Portrait of Armella Nicolas, known as “the good Armella” (17th century)
Armella Nicolas (1606-1671) was a serving-maid who lived in France in the 17th century, who came to be held in high veneration in the Catholic church. She could not read or write, but told friends of her spiritual experiences, including sister Jeanne de la Nativite, who wrote down her experiences. The following is one of her recorded experiences: Continue reading “Armella Nicolas’s “First Vision” Account”

Einstein’s Misquote on the Illusion of Feeling Separate from the Whole

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Albert Einstein

This morning I came across a quote in an excellent essay by Daniel Christian Wahl, frequently attributed to the renowned modern theoretical physicist Albert Einstein. Wahl did not misquote him, but it seems to be often misquoted when cited in full. It is this:

A human being is a part of the whole, called by us “Universe”, a part limited in time and space. He experiences himself, his thoughts and feelings as something separated from the rest — a kind of optical delusion of his consciousness. This delusion is a kind of prison for us, restricting us to our personal desires and to affection for a few persons nearest to us. Our task must be to free ourselves from this prison by widening our circle of compassion to embrace all living creatures and the whole of nature in its beauty. Nobody is able to achieve this completely, but the striving for such achievement is in itself a part of the liberation and a foundation for inner security.

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