A Mystical Perspective on the Problem of Evil

A friend asked me what my take was on the problem of evil, or theodicy, so I thought I’d write about it here.

Here was the question:

How do you handle the problem of evil? Coming from a Mormon background, evil had its place in the plan of salvation. If you are right about the idea that to be godly is you be one, then why does the devil of our egos get in the way? What’s the point of a fall in the first place?

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Qualia, Consciousness, Christ, and Cosmos

What is qualia? What is the source of individual instances of subjective conscious experience, like seeing the redness of an apple? Where does the redness come from? I don’t know, but here are some ideas.

Energy in our environment impinges upon our sense organs causing a cascade of electrochemical reactions and nerve impulses that are sent to the brain. In the brain these nerve impulses seem to give rise to a conscious perception. We know that a certain wavelength/frequency of photons, for example, striking the retina cells in our eyes correlates with the experience of red arising in consciousness. But why red? Why is it red? Why do we experience that color? Why do we experience anything?

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Paul/Silas? our Super Hero Identity vs. our Alter/Secret Identity

Wikipedia notes on the entry for Paul’s companion Silas:

Catholic theologian Joseph Fitzmyer points out that Silas is the Greek version of the Aramaic ‘Seila’, a version of the Hebrew ‘Saul’, which is attested in Palmyrene inscriptions.

I wonder if Silas/Silvanus could be Paul’s name for his own alter ego, the “Saul” of his prior persecuting life, his shadow side, his human side, his “sinful” side, prior to perhaps taking a “new name” of Paul after his conversion experience. Peter says Silas is a “faithful brother.” Cicero apparently coined the term “alter ego” in 1st century Rome, calling it “a second self, a trusted friend.”

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Is God a Male Human, or Two Males, or maybe Three? Do I hear Four? Or is it More?

Thinking of God as a male human(s) out in the universe somewhere seems to be a primitive, magical, supernatural, and archaic conception of the Divine, literalizing the pronouns of “He” and “Him,” and in the Christian tradition of “Father” and “Son.” I’ve written about this specifically at least once before, but it’s worth discussing more.

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A Psychological and Mystical Interpretation of the Myth of Adam & Eve and the Garden of Eden

The story of Adam & Eve can be considered as a mythological allegory describing humanity’s “fall” of consciousness into the complex dualities of self-awareness, subject/object relationships, and all the opposites of existence (male/female, light/dark, hot/cold, day/night, happy/sad, health/sickness, etc.). This is symbolized in the partaking of the “tree” of knowledge of good and evil, i.e. dualities.

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1 Corinthians 15 BHT, Paul’s Earliest Witness of the Resurrection into Christ Consciousness, the “Gospel”

An addition to the BHT, containing the earliest account of the post-resurrection appearances of Christ in the New Testament, where Paul describes his early witness of the resurrection and what it means to be resurrected into Christ consciousness. This seems to be an excellent summary of the Christian Gospel, or “good news,” but it is something which I think we’ve generally misunderstood in Christianity for centuries. I feel that this is one of the most important translations of the BHT that I have been given the Grace to work out yet—yet not I. I was in tears by the end.

(The photo above is of Papyrus 15 (rotated), dated to the 3rd century, an early manuscript copy of the New Testament, showing the Greek text of 1 Corinthians 7:18-8:4.)

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Is the Truth Really Found “Within”?

Some Mormons, other Christians, and perhaps people generally, are uncomfortable with the idea that the truth is found within us. They might consider this to be incompatible with the gospel, navel-gazing, narcissism, and selfishness. But I think the whole purpose and goal of the Christian gospel, and of spirituality more generally, is to help us discover that Truth is at the core of our being, which is our divine nature in God, in Reality. This is beyond all that is “selfish” in us, reaching the ground of who and what we really are. Continue reading “Is the Truth Really Found “Within”?”