Reverend Michael Cocks, editor of The Ground of Faith, based in Christchurch, writes:
Harry Månsus, a Swedish theologian, wrote a book called, “The Cosmic Cathedral.” [Den kosmiska Katedralen]. The name implies that the universe is one undivided whole, and is holy, and that is the activity of one Mind, Consciousness, Spirit or God, (whichever term we may like to use), what we call the physical is produced by the activity of this Spirit, which is called Christ the Word in St John’s Gospel—the physical never creates Mind, as many people think. Many leading Quantum physicists and the mystics of the world’s religions say the same thing. Mind is found in timelessness, and also within time.
QM physics says that everything is somehow connected “entangled” with everything else. That this is how things are, is shown by such aspects of consciousness as these: telepathy, clairvoyance, psychokinesis, synchronicity, near death experiences, out of body experiences, and spiritual healing.
In many and varied ways we get to say the same thing, namely that we are all conscious participants in the universe, “we are all children of God,” and, as is the case with a holographic picture, each part, each person, is in the image of the Whole, even though a rather fuzzy image. “God made man in his own image.”
In all this bound-up-togetherness: what are we to regard as evil? In Afterlife Teaching from Stephen the Martyr the spirit St Stephen defined “evil” like this: “Anything that would put a barrier between yourselves and your Lord, your God, is evil.” And Stephen’s God is also in all, through all, and (yes,) above all. God is that in which “we live and move and have our being.”
We may sense this in our prayers and meditations. We may accept this philosophically and scientifically. We do also plainly have our being at least partly in ‘the real world’ in which we live—the ‘real world’ that exists within this God.
In such a world, if we live in a city, we will see people of many nationalities in the streets, many languages being spoken, some wearing head coverings worn by Moslems, Sikhs, or Jews, some dark skinned, some light skinned, some people plainly very well off, others plainly very poor.
Reverend Michael Cocks says there will be people of faith, and people who would regard themselves as Materialists. There will be people of many walks of life, and many states of mental health or lack of it. Young and old. This is ‘the real world’. The Cosmic Cathedral does include this world.
And in this real world we are all dependent on each other, for our food and lodging, for health care, and the maintenance of our environment. And we all know that there will be hell to pay, if we don’t treat each other with respect, treat everyone as having similar feelings and needs as our selves, and cooperate with each other living in this society where we are all dependent on each other.
He explains this—doesn’t society as a whole recognise this? What would we think of a doctor, nurse, teacher, shopkeeper, lawyer, tradesman, shopkeeper, or whoever, who did not respect their patient, pupil, or client equally regardless of race, religion or sex? In this modern world a government would get into hot water really quickly if it did not. The Cosmic Cathedral embraces all of this.
“Anything that would put a barrier between you and your God is evil.” Jesus said that we should love our neighbour as ourselves. He made his point, by having a despised Samaritan with wrong beliefs and customs, picking up and tending the wounded but “right believing” Jew who had been set on by robbers, and was lying helpless beside the road. The Samaritan acted as neighbour to the Jew.
It is natural to have churches and groups where like-minded people may love and support and pray together. But even if they feel peace in the presence of God in such groups, there is something wrong if they cannot treat people of all races, and all beliefs as fellow “children of our God, who is in all, through all, and above all.
We cannot avoid having our personal beliefs, and we have no choice but to be at the stage of spiritual maturation that we have achieved; it is the same with our neighbour, whether Moslem, Jew, Catholic or Hindu… or Materialist. But they are all our neighbours.
Jesus said, “Love your enemies; Love your neighbour as yourself.” If we do not do so, then there is a barrier between us and our God. Jesus said, “Judge not that you be not judged.” If each of us judge others from the point of view that we have the right scientific, moral and religious beliefs, then there is a barrier between us and the God who is in all through all, and above all. In the part of the Cosmic Cathedral that is our local society, we are challenged to accept and respect each other with our many differences, in the interests of the happiness and personal fulfilment of all.
The truth about things may be very important to us; we may hate sloppy thinking, fear superstition, encounter thinking and behaviour that is offensive to us. Yet we must “love the sinner, even if we do not love the sin.” And it is good to remember Stephen’s words, “For what truth I speak is but my truth; my truth comes only from my experience, and alas, my judgements.”
Reverend Michael Cocks says, of course the Cosmic Cathedral embraces very much more than this world. Strangely, this is what the great religions have maintained, and what psychic or consciousness research demonstrates, is that there are spiritual links that bind together the living and the dead, and people across the world, regardless of time and space, regardless of faith, or the lack of it.
This he points out is not associated with “Salvation by Jesus' alone”—rather an instrument to better understand our world neighours whether that be people from Indonesia, the Maldeves, Botzwania, Lybia, Siberia, North Korea, Columbia, Cook Islands …
Dr Mark Tronson is a Baptist minister (retired) who served as the Australian cricket team chaplain for 17 years (2000 ret) and established Life After Cricket in 2001. He was recognised by the Olympic Ministry Medal in 2009 presented by Carl Lewis Olympian of the Century. He mentors young writers and has written 24 books, and enjoys writing. He is married to Delma, with four adult children and grand-children. Dr Tronson writes a daily article for Christian Today Australia (since 2008) and in November 2016 established Christian Today New Zealand.
Mark Tronson's archive of articles can be viewed at http://www.pressserviceinternational.org/mark-tronson.html