of Mary Magdalene and Near-Death Experiences
A lot of media
attention is being given to the novel "The
Da Vinci Code"
by Dan Brown because of its radical
claims purporting to be historical truth.
The book may be riding the popular crest
of another recent religious story about
Jesus called "The Passion"
my review of Mel's snuff film).
Since the book was released, a primetime
television special was broadcast about
the book. Hollywood director Ron Howard
is said to be planning to make a movie
about it. Cable programs have been airing
debates about the book and the controversy
surrounding it. I haven't read the book
but I have been paying attention to
all the media buzz about it. Here is
Newsweek article about it.
|1. Historical Concepts About
Before I heard about
the book, I was already familiar with the historical concepts
the book is based on:
Jesus was not believed to be God by his followers, but was
viewed to be a man who was very close to God.
Jesus was married to
who was the "disciple whom Jesus loved."
That Mary Magdalene played a larger role in early Christian
history than previously thought. She was considered an apostle
of Christ and was the author of the
Gospel of John.
(She was also the author of the
Gospel of Mary
which was discovered in 1945 and describes the soul's journey
after death which resembles a near-death experience. It
also has concepts similar to those found in Tibetan Buddhism's "Book
of the Dead."
More about this later.)
There was a covered-up, either intentionally or ignorantly,
by the Church centuries after Jesus' death which attempted
to hide these controversies.
These controversial claims may
be the only thing about The Da Vinci Code which are actually
true. The leading authority on
the women of ancient Christianity
is the Harvard professor Karen L. King who has commented
on the entire book by saying it is "good fiction."
60s and 70s, there were controversial books and movies about
Jesus such as "Jesus Christ Superstar" which assumed
that Jesus and Mary Magdalene had a sexual relationship.
Of recent date, Martin Scorsese's 1988 movie "The Last
Temptation of Christ" included a sex scene between
Jesus and Mary Magdalene. The idea of a married Jesus is
a controversy thousands of years old.
Da Vinci Code," I only want to mention the importance
of Leonardo Da Vinci's painting entitled "The Last
Supper" which you can see on the right. If you look
at the painting you will notice that
the disciple seated to Jesus'
right appears to be either a woman
or a very, very effeminate man. Historically, the orthodox
Church has assumed the identity of the "disciple whom
Jesus loved" to be the Apostle John. The disciple whom
Jesus loved is the disciple described in the Bible as resting
his head on the bosom of Jesus during the Last Supper. If
this "beloved disciple" really is John, this raises
an interesting question: What kind of relationship did this "disciple
whom Jesus loved" actually have with Jesus?
assume that Jesus loved everyone, then what made this special
disciple become more favored by Jesus? Such questions have
led some scholars (and movie producers) to speculate that
Jesus may have been a homosexual.
This theory is even more controversial. Besides Jesus having
a special male disciple to love, Jesus is described in the
Bible as kissing men, living and sleeping with men, washing
their bodies, and teaching them to love other men. The Bible
also records Jesus "giving his body" to his disciples
to "eat." Jesus also preached tolerance for so-called "sinners"
such as adulterers, prostitutes, and even homosexuals (Matt
10:14-15). He rejected
the social norms of his day which considered such outcasts
as worthy of death. In those days, women had the same status
as cattle, slavery was sanctioned, and so-called sexually
immoral people were stoned to death. Not only did Jesus
not follow the social norms of his day, he hung out with
the sinners, prostitutes, tax collectors and even made some
of them apostles. He even told the religious bigots that
the prostitutes were entering
heaven before they were.
|2. Evidence Revealing Jesus
was Married to Mary Magdalene
all these things, I am convinced that the evidence shows
that Jesus was not a homosexual (although I would not think
less of Jesus if he was) but that the "special disciple"
whom Jesus loved was none other than Mary Magdalene. There
are some very good reasons to believe that Jesus was married.
Here are the major ones:
3. Who was Mary Magdalene?
Jesus was culturally obligated to be married. In those days,
Jewish law required every Rabbi
to be married. Unmarried
men were considered a curse to Jewish society. Jesus said
he fulfilled the law and the prophets. The first positive
commandment found in the Bible deals with the propagation
of the human race (Genesis
1:28). It was therefore
considered the duty of every male in Israel to marry - usually
at the age of eighteen. Anyone who remained unmarried after
age twenty was considered cursed by God (source: Kid. 29b).
So important was marriage to the Jews of ancient Israel
that men were frequently compelled by the courts to take
a wife (source: M. Zvi Udley, Ph.D.). Given the cultural
conditions in which Jesus lived, the burden of proof lies
with those who do not believe Jesus was married. They must
show why Jesus and his parents would have been derelict
in their civic responsibilities and not contracted a marriage
According to Josephus, the great Jewish historian, the descendants
of David felt a moral obligation to perpetuate their royal
heritage because they never knew which one of their descendants
would be the chosen Messiah. The Bible shows that Jesus
was a direct descendant of David and this made him morally
obligated to be married.
Hippolytus and Origen, two earlier Church leaders, wrote
that the Song of Solomon was a prophecy of a marital union
between Christ and Mary Magdalene.
While the Bible "appears" to be silent on the
subject of Jesus' marital status, it was not until late
in the second century that any Christian leader denied that
Jesus was married. Justin Martyr and Clement of Alexandria
believed that a married Jesus was inconsistent with his
role as the Savior of the world. Other Church fathers denied
that Jesus was married based upon the supposed silence in
the Bible about his marital status. They also believed it
conflicted with the Church's doctrine of a celibate priesthood
the Church's general view of sex
as sinful. The evidence
the Church eventually denied the
very humanity of Jesus
when the council declared him God.
Irenaeus, a second century Christian leader, wrote about
the so-called "Doctrine of Recapitulation" which
supports the idea of a married Jesus. Irenaeus taught that
Jesus symbolically entered every critical stage of human
existence and sanctified it. This included a person's family
and sexual life.
There was a second century tradition among certain early
Christian sects which held that Jesus and Mary Magdalene were
married. There is also
Biblical and extra-Biblical evidence of their special relationship
as man and wife.
history, Mary Magdalene has been a mysterious figure for
many Christians. She is the most prominent woman in the
Gospels and is mentioned first in seven of the eight lists
of women who walked with Jesus. An orthodox tradition exists
which claims that Mary Magdalene was a repentant prostitute
- even though there is no Biblical evidence suggesting she
was a prostitute. She is mentioned in the Bible as being
among the women of Galilee who followed Jesus and his disciples.
She was present at Jesus' crucifixion and burial. She was
one of the women who went to the tomb to anoint Jesus' body.
She was the first to see the risen Christ. By definition,
this meant she was the "first apostle." She was
the one who announced Jesus' resurrection to the apostles.
Because she was the first to announce his resurrection,
the Catholic Church honored her with the title "apostola
apostolorum" which means "the apostle to the apostles."
The Bible never claims that Mary
Magdalene was the repentant prostitute who washes the feet
of Jesus with her hair in
But this incident of a woman anointing the feet of Jesus
is cited by some scholars as the most direct witness to
Jesus being married. This incident is recorded in all four
Gospels and was a story in which Jesus himself gave express
command that it be preserved. This feet anointing ceremony
was an ancient ritual among royalty in the ancient world.
It was a ritual which sealed the marital union between a
king and his spouse. The ritual is even mentioned briefly
in the Song of Solomon.
The Bible never claims that Mary
Magdalene was the woman who was caught in the act of adultery
and saved from being stoned to death by Jesus in
However, she is identified as having once been possessed
by seven demons in
This may be the source of the orthodox tradition that Mary
was a prostitute before she met Jesus.
The Bible records that Mary met
Jesus after his resurrection. The Bible records a degree
of intimacy between them during this incident which one
would expect between lovers, not friends. When Mary is referred
to as "woman" by Jesus, it can just as easily
be translated as "wife". The Greek word for "woman"
and "wife" is the same and translators have to
rely on the context in determining how to translate it.
Sometimes, the translation between "woman" and "wife"
is completely arbitrary.
4. The Orthodox Mary Magdalene Versus
the Gnostic Mary Magdalene
which yielded more information about Mary Magdalene and
the early Christians were discovered in Upper Egypt. Many
early Christian texts were found which included several
previously unknown gospels. These gospels reveal teachings
and events surrounding Jesus and the disciples which had
never been known before. For example, one gospel mentions
that Jesus kissed Mary Magdalene frequently and "on
the mouth." Another text shows that Jesus called Mary
Magdalene the "woman who knows all." These early
writings affirm that Mary was the "companion,"
even the consort, of Jesus. Mary is even the author of her
own gospel called the
Gospel of Mary.
5. Jesus' Elevation of the Role
All these facts begs the question:
Why would there be two different traditions of Mary Magdalene?
The most plausible explanation can be found in
the historical schism which developed
very early in the Christian community.
It is apparent that the early Christian community was split
by doctrinal disagreements. The majority of the community
were Christians who leaned toward so-called "heretical
doctrines" such as
Docetism, Montanism, and Gnosticism.
The rest of the community were incorporated into the emerging
institutional Church. They became known as "orthodox"
believers who conformed to the political and spiritual authority
of the Church. These orthodox believers labeled those outside
of their organization as "heretics" because they
did not conform to the authority of the priests.
the Christian Gnostics preserved the tradition of Mary Magdalene
as the beloved disciple and a leader in the Christian community,
the orthodox Christians, on the other hand, removed all
references to Mary Magdalene as being the founder of the
Johannine Community. They did this by turning the references
to "the disciple whom Jesus loved" into an anonymous
Grammatical flaws found by Bible
scholars within various Bible passages in the Gospel of
John support this transformation.
It is theorized that the emerging Church did this because
they could not accept the authenticity of a gospel written
by a woman. And not only did the Church suppress the prominent
role of Mary Magdalene, it suppressed the role of women
in general within the Church. It did this by denying the
historical role that women had in Judaism.
the historical treatment of women as having the same status
of cattle, the Bible records that a woman once ruled ancient
Israel: "Deborah, a prophetess, the wife of Lappidoth,
was leading Israel at that time." (Judges
4:4) The Bible even
declares Rahab the prostitute to be "righteous"
for giving lodging to the spies and sending them off in
a different direction (James
2:25). Besides Deborah,
the Bible recognizes other female prophetesses such as the
four daughters of Philip, Mary (the sister of Aaron), and
Mary (the mother of God) whom the Bible states: "Henceforth
all women and all generations shall call me blessed (Luke
1:48)." The Bible
also reports that many women became missionaries and even
martyrs for the Christian cause. While women in general
held a low status in society in those days, Jesus is seen
ignoring these social norms concerning women. In one incident,
the disciples marvel that they find Jesus talking to a woman
- and not just any woman - a Samaritan woman. Jews were
forbidden to associate with Samaritans. Men were also forbidden
to even touch a woman because they never knew if they would
be breaking their tradition of not touching a woman while
she is in her menstrual phase (Lev.
to the Synoptic gospels (Matthew, Luke, and Mark) the Gospel
of John shows women playing a bigger role. In the Gospel
of Mark, there are only
instances where women are recorded as speaking. In the Gospel
of Matthew, there are 9
instances. In the Gospel of Luke, there are
instances. But the Gospel of John records
instances of women speaking. Of course,
the Christian Gnostics maintained
a tradition which started with Jesus of having women perform
equal functions with men in the community.
More on this topic can be found at these websites (01)
This suggests the author of this gospel, the "disciple
whom Jesus loved," viewed women more favorably. And
there is evidence that the identity of
the author of the Gospel of John
and the "disciple whom Jesus loved" is Mary Magdalene.
6. The Fall of the Role of Women
by Orthodox Christianity
the orthodox Church gained increasing political power, the
role of women in the Church decreased. This can be directly
attributed to the influence of the letters and teachings
of Paul. Paul frequently takes an anti-women stance in his
letters. While the so-called "heretical" believers
allowed women to serve as priests and gave them equal status,
the orthodox Church adopted Pauline Christianity which rejected
the role of women. Paul taught that women are too poor of
judgment to teach; that they must remain silent in Church;
that they are forbidden to have authority over a man (1
Timothy 2:12-14). In
essence, Paul was saying that because women were created
second and sinned first, they should shut up. Paul also
demanded that women be submissive to men (Ephesians
5:22-23); that women
are inferior to men (1
that women are "saved through childbearing" (1
Timothy 2:15); and
although God declares the institution of marriage to be "good"
2:18), Paul declares
marriage to be "not good" (1
Corinthians 7:8. Paul
demanded that women should wear veils to indicate their
secondary status in the order of creation (1
Paul's anti-women stance may have come from the fact that
he himself was not married (although unmarried Jewish men
were considered cursed) or it may be because his anti-Gnostic
crusade caused him to reject the Christian Gnostic idea
of equality among the sexes. Here is
a comprehensive article on Paul
as the source of misogyny, anti-Semitism, and slavery in
7. Mary Magdalene - The Beloved
The Gospel of John was written
by someone who was an eyewitness to the events (John
21:24). This is a claim
which the Synoptic gospels cannot make. But for some reason,
the writer of the Gospel of John wanted to remain anonymous.
The writer was obviously an extremely important figure.
It is clear that "the disciple whom Jesus loved"
was highly favored by Jesus over the other disciples. Most
Biblical scholars today do not believe the Gospel of John
was written by the Apostle John. The author is assumed to
be the anonymous disciple of Jesus referred to as "the
beloved disciple" and "the disciple whom Jesus
loved." As mentioned earlier, there is compelling evidence
suggesting that the identity of this beloved disciple was
Mary Magdalene. In fact, some scholars believe she may have
been the true founder of what has come to be known as the
But at some point after the death of Jesus, the emerging
male leadership of that community simply became embarrassed
about having a female founder. The theory goes that in the
Gospel of John, the "beloved disciple" was transformed
into a male disciple in the text because this beloved disciple
was clearly the founder and champion of the community that
produced this gospel. That disciple was Mary Magdalene.
The Gospel of John was initially
not accepted by orthodox authorities.
The oldest known commentary on the Gospel of John is that
of the Gnostic Heracleon (AD 180). Irenaeus of Lyons (AD
202) refuted the Gnostic exegesis of it. There is an abundant
amount of correlation between the ideas found in the Gospel
of John and the early Christian Gnostic writings discovered
in 1945 which strongly suggests that the Gospel of John
was a Gnostic gospel.
As the Church gained political
power, it not only denied women their rightful place in
the Church, it also denied the humanity of Jesus by declaring
him to be God. This made it even more impossible to assert
that Jesus was ever married. Deifying Jesus also elevated
him beyond humanity's ability to become like him in attaining
one-ness and son-ship with God as he did.
Salvation through the example
of Jesus was replaced with salvation through Jesus-worship.
orthodox view is that Peter was the leader of the twelve
disciples and head of the Church. But the early Christian
writings discovered in 1945 tell a different story - that
Mary Magdalene was the beloved disciple who had more authority
than Peter. This is also supported by Biblical facts. In
the beloved disciple is "resting on bosom of Jesus"
while Peter must petition the beloved disciple to ask Jesus
a question for him. In
the beloved disciple has access to the high priest's palace
while Peter does not. In
the beloved disciple immediately believes in Jesus' resurrection
while Peter and the rest of the disciples do not understand
what's going on. In
the beloved disciple is the only one who recognizes the
risen Christ while he speaks from the shore to the disciples
on their fishing boat. In
Peter jealously asks Jesus about the fate of the beloved
disciple. Even more struggles between Peter and Mary are
recorded in the newly discovered writings.
writings portray Peter as being jealous of the revelations
that Mary received from the risen Christ. For example, the
Gospel of Thomas
describes Peter as saying: "Let Mary leave us, for
women are not worthy of life." In the
Gospel of Philip,
the favorable relationship between Jesus and Mary Magdalene
is contrasted with Jesus' relationship with the rest of
the disciples. Similar examples of Mary Magdalene being
favored by Jesus over Peter can be found in the
Gospel of the Egyptians
These texts also describe Peter rejecting the authority
of women to teach.
of Mary describes Mary Magdalene as Jesus' beloved disciple
who possessed and taught superior knowledge than the public
orthodox tradition had.
of Thomas records a very interesting promise made to Peter
by Jesus. He is promised that Jesus will lead Mary Magdalene
in order to "make her male so that she too may become
a living spirit resembling you males. For every woman who
will make herself male will enter the Kingdom of Heaven."
This seemingly strange comment can only be understood in
the context of Jesus teaching the one-ness of all things
which can be found throughout these writings.
In the Acts of Philip,
Jesus praises Mary Magdalene for her manly character. Because
of this he gives her the task of joining the weaker Philip
on his mission journey - but not as a woman. "As for
you, Mary," Jesus says, "change your clothing
and your outward appearance: reject everything which from
the outside suggests a woman." This shows how society
in those days generally rejected the authority of women.
Gospel of Thomas, the Gospel of Mary, and the Pistis Sophia,
Peter is described as denying Mary Magdalene's closeness
to Jesus. These writings give Mary Magdalene a special position.
In the Gospel of Philip and the Gospel of Mary, she is the
only person to whom the other disciples refer to as the
one loved by Jesus more than the others and as the one who
has a greater insight.
of Philip states: "And the companion of the [Savior
is] Mary Magdalene. [But Christ loved] her more than [all]
the disciples [and used to] kiss her [often] on her [mouth].
The rest of [the disciples were offended] by it [and expressed
disapproval]. They said to him, "Why do you love her
more than all of us?" The Savior answered and said
to them, "Why do I not love you like her? When a blind
man and one who sees are both together in darkness, they
are no different from one another. When the light comes,
then he who sees will see the light, and he who is blind
will remain in darkness."
The Gospel of Philip states: "There
were three who always walked with the Lord: Mary his mother
and her sister and Magdalene, the one who was called his
companion." His sister and his mother and his companion
were each named Mary.
passages establish the fact that Christian Gnostics believed
Mary Magdalene to be the "beloved disciple" and
the companion of the Lord. She is repeatedly singled out
as the disciple whom Jesus loved the most.
8. Mary Magdalene's Near-Death
Magdalene is seen in the Gospel of Mary as a disciple who
is singled out by Jesus for special teachings. This gospel
also shows Mary describing her vision of the soul's journey
after death and the challenges it must overcome. These passages
from the Gospel of Mary contain concepts similar to concepts
found in near-death experiences and Tibetan Buddhism's
Book of the Dead.
of Mary describes how, after the crucifixion of Jesus, the
disciples were gathered together and weeping. At Peter's
request, Mary tells the disciples about revelations given
to her that were hidden from them. The basis for her knowledge
is the vision of the Lord she had and a private dialogue
with him. What is incredibly unfortunately is that four
pages of the Gospel of Mary are missing and only the beginning
and end of Mary's revelation exist. Nevertheless, judging
by what does exist of this gospel, Mary's vision certainly
resembles a NDE.
is in the form of a dialogue. The first question Mary asks
the risen Christ is how one sees a vision. Jesus replies
that the soul sees through the mind which is between the
soul and the spirit. At this point the text breaks off.
When the text resumes at the end of the gospel, Mary is
in the midst of describing her revelation concerning the
rise of the soul past the four afterlife "powers."
The four powers represent the four of the multi-dimensional
levels of the afterlife hierarchy. According to Mary's vision,
the enlightened soul becomes free of their bonds, rises
past the four powers, conquering them with "gnosis"
(spiritual knowledge), and finally attain eternal life.
9. The Gospel of
The following is
the Gospel of Mary which describes this vision further:
The Gospel of Mary
...They wept greatly,
saying, "How shall we go to the Gentiles
and preach the gospel of the kingdom of the
Son of Man? If they did not spare him, how will
they spare us?"
Then Mary stood up,
greeted them all, and said to her brethren, "Do
not weep and do not grieve nor be irresolute,
for his grace will be entirely with you and
will protect you. But rather let us praise his
greatness, for he has prepared us and made us
When Mary said this,
she turned their hearts to the Good, and they
began to discuss the words of the [Savior].
Peter said to Mary, "Sister,
I we know that the Savior loved you more than
the rest of women. Tell us the words of the
Savior which you remember - which you know (but)
we do not, nor have we heard them."
Mary answered and
said, "What is hidden from you will proclaim
And she began to speak
to them these words: "I," she said, "
I saw the Lord in a vision and I said to him, "Lord,
I saw you today in a vision."
He answered and said
to me, "Blessed are you, that you did not
waver at the sight of me. For where the mind
is, there is the treasure."
I said to him, "Lord,
now does he who sees the vision see it (through)
the soul (or) through the spirit?"
The Savior answered
and said, "He does not see through the
soul nor through the spirit, but the mind which
(is) between the two - that is (what) sees the
vision and it is ....'
[missing pages here]
did not see you descending, but now I see you ascending.
Why do you lie, since you belong to me?"
The soul answered and said, "I
saw you. You did not see me nor recognize me. I
served you as a garment, and you did not know me."
When it had said this, it
went away rejoicing greatly.
Again it came to the third
power, which is called ignorance. It (the power)
questioned the soul saying, "Where are you
going? In wickedness are you bound. But you are
bound; do not judge!"
And the soul said, "Why
do you judge me although I have not judged? I was
bound though I have not bound. I was not recognized.
But I have recognized that the All is being dissolved,
both the earthly (things) and the heavenly."
When the soul had overcome
the third power, it went upwards and saw the fourth
power, (which) took seven forms. The first form
is darkness, the second desire, the third ignorance,
the fourth is the excitement of death, the fifth
is the kingdom of the flesh, the sixth is the foolish
wisdom of flesh, the seventh is the wrathful wisdom.
These are the seven (powers) of wrath.
They ask the soul, "Whence
do you come, slayer of men, or where are you going,
conqueror of space?"
The soul answered and said, "What
binds me has been slain, and what surrounds me has
been overcome, and my desire has been ended, and
ignorance has died. In a (world) I was released
from a world, (and) in a type from a heavenly type,
and (from) the fetter of oblivion which is transient.
From this time on will I attain to the rest of the
time, of the season, of the aeon, in silence."
When Mary had said this,
she fell silent, since it was to this point that
the Savior had spoken with her.
But Andrew answered and
said to the brethren, "Say what you (wish to)
say I about what she has said. I at least do not
believe that the Savior said this. For certainly
these teachings are strange ideas."
Peter answered and spoke
concerning these same things. He questioned them
about the Savior: "Did he really speak with
a woman without our knowledge (and) not openly?
Are we to turn about and all listen to her? Did
he prefer her to us?"
Then Mary wept and said
to Peter, "My brother Peter, what do you think?
Do you think that I thought this up myself in my
heart, or that I am lying about the Savior?"
Levi answered and said to
Peter, "Peter, you have always been hot-tempered.
Now I see you contending against the woman like
the adversaries. But if the Savior made her worthy,
who are you indeed to reject her? Surely the Savior
knows her very well. That is why he loved her more
than us. Rather let us be ashamed and put on the
perfect man and acquire him for ourselves as he
commanded us, and preach the gospel, not laying
down any other rule or other law beyond what the
Savior said. When [ ...] and they began to go forth
(to) proclaim and to preach.
10. An Analysis
of Mary Magdalene's NDE
of her experience with "seven powers of wrath"
causes me to wonder if this incident is somehow related
to Luke's mentioning of Mary Magdalene having seven demons
cast out of her. Luke was the companion of Paul who wrote
the Gospel of Luke and the Acts of the Apostles. If this
vision by Mary is the cause of her being smeared with the
accusation of being demon possessed, it may be merely a
reflection of the orthodox rejection of Christian Gnosticism
and the rejection of Mary Magdalene's traditional authority
among the disciples.
to her vision, the first afterlife state or "power"
she describes is said to be
This may correspond to the so-called "void"
experienced by NDErs immediately after death. The second
afterlife state that Mary describes is referred to as
This may correspond to the
that people with strong physical desires are attracted to
after death. The third afterlife state that Mary describes
is referred to as
where judgment occurs. This may correspond to the
which NDErs often describe. The fourth afterlife level that
Mary describes is referred to as
"the excitement of death".
This may correspond to the
feeling of joy
that NDErs describe when they realize they have escaped
from these darker, lower realms and the joy of entering
the realm of light. The fifth afterlife state that Mary
describes is referred to as
"the kingdom of the flesh".
This may be a reference to how
has a similar appearance and environment as Earth with mountains,
cities, lakes, etc... The sixth afterlife state that Mary
describes is referred to as
"the foolish wisdom of the
This may be a reference to how living in the higher realms
to living in the environment on Earth. The seventh afterlife
state that Mary describes is called the
Surprisingly, this is a good description of one of the afterlife
phases in the
Tibetan Buddhist afterlife cosmology.
Wisdom is also another correlation to the NDE which frequently
to the Tibetan Book of the Dead, on the seventh "day"
after death there appears the "knowledge-holding"
deities, who appear fierce and demonic-looking to the unenlightened.
To the enlightened, however, they appear as "peaceful
deities." But because of ignorance, the unenlightened
soul cannot face these knowledge-holding deities who appear
to them as "wrathful". According to Buddhism,
this confusion causes the soul to descend back to Earth
to be reincarnated. On the other hand, the enlightened soul
recognizes that these deities are really "peaceful"
and only appear wrathful to ignorant people. It is the soul's
own negative karma which perceives these deities as they
perceive them. But liberation from reincarnation is attained
when the soul recognizes their one-ness with the deities.
Those who do not recognize their one-ness with them will
ignorantly flee out of fear to lower afterlife states.
Although this may seems very unusual
to some people, a perfect example of this concept can be
found in the NDE of
Pastor Howard Pittman.
During his NDE, Pittman is brought before God but perceives
God to be the jealous and angry God of wrath he preached
about for 35 years and is often incorrectly portrayed to
be God in the Bible. Pittman is chased away from God's "angry"
presence because of judgment he feels before God (which
is really self-judgment). But, amazingly, Pittman is allowed
a second chance to go before God. This second time he is
astonished to perceive God as a "God of love."
Pittman doesn't realize it but his perception of God as
a "God of wrath" was a figment of his own religious
mind-set and an illusion created by his own ignorance. Pittman's
NDE is the epitome of how we create our own reality on Earth,
but infinitely more so in heaven. The kingdom of heaven
(or hell) is within us. Death is merely a body problem.
What lives within us will become our environment after death.
This is why it is critically important what a person has
living within them.
Is it love, joy and peace? Or do you see the devil everywhere?
natures, all formed things, all creatures exist
in and with one another and will again be resolved
into their own roots, because the nature of matter
is dissolved into the roots of its nature alone.
He who has ears to hear, let him hear."
- Jesus Christ, the Gospel of Mary