You can only hear what you believe

June 8, 2017 § Leave a comment

Without Divine revelation we would know nothing about eternal life or God.

WITHOUT a revelation from the Divine, a man cannot know anything concerning eternal life, or even concerning God; and still less can he know anything concerning love to God and faith in Him; for a man is born in utter ignorance, and everything from which his understanding is to be formed he has to learn from worldly objects. Hereditarily, also, he is born into every evil which arises from the love of self and the world. The delights arising therefrom prevail continually, and suggest to him such things as are diametrically opposed to the Divine. This then is the reason that man knows nothing concerning eternal life; and hence the necessity of a Revelation, from which he may have such knowledge.  (NJHD 249)

The Lord who loves us and who desires our eternal welfare has revealed to us what we need to know to be saved.

Since a man, therefore, lives after death, and then lives to eternity; and since a life awaits him according to his love and faith; it follows that the Divine out of love towards the human race, has revealed such things as will lead to that life, and conduce to a man’s salvation. What the Divine has revealed is the Word with us. (NJHD 251)

We know from these teachings that the Lord is talking to us. The question is, are we listening to Him? There are many factors that are involved in our listening to the Lord. One of which is belief, discussed below:

the human rational as regards truth is such that it is not able to understand what the Divine is, for the reason that that truth is immersed in appearances, and consequently that which it cannot understand it does not believe, and that which it does not believe does not affect it. (AC 2203)

Our rational understanding more deeply immersed in appearances of truth than we realize or acknowledged. We take the appearances as being the genuine truth. From this we secretly harbor a disbelief in the Divine and we fail to understand what the Divine is.

Here, I am only going to discuss one appearance of truth and how it affects are belief in the Lord and our ability to listen to the Lord.

The Heavenly Doctrines were revealed in the 18th century. It is an appearance that their teachings reflect 18th century thought. Certainly the way in which the Lord speaks to us was influenced by the fact that the Heavenly Doctrines were revealed in the 18th century. This is evident from this teaching:

the sense of the letter of the Word would have been different if the Word had been written among a different people (AC 10453.3)

It is also true that an understanding of 18th century thought and life helps us to understand what the Lord is saying to us. 

Sometimes when the Lord says something we don’t like, we are inclined to dismiss it as being simply a reflection of 18th century thought and custom, and therefore, of no importance to our spiritual life. It is, however, it not always so easy to disentangle 18th century thought and custom from Divine directives. This can be seen from this teaching below:

For that reason we consider in the present chapter a number of practices which are accepted customs. For example, that choosing whom to court is a prerogative of men; that parents should be consulted; that gifts should be given as pledges; that a marriage covenant should be established before the wedding; that this covenant should be sanctified by a priest; that a wedding should be celebrated; and so on. These and more are considered in order to enable a person to see in the light of his rationality that such practices are engraved on conjugial love as its prerequisites, which promote it and bring it to fulfillment. (CL 295.2)

We need to read the Heavenly Doctrines with an affirmative attitude that they are Lord talking to us and that we need to take His words seriously. Otherwise our disbelief will close our ears, our hearts and our minds to His words.  

I am not saying that we should read the Heavenly Doctrines with a blind faith. We need to read them with understanding. Reading with understanding, however, is work. One needs to read passages in their context, not just their immediate context, but also in the context of the whole work they occur in, and also their context in the whole of the Heavenly Doctrines. We need to compare specific teachings with other relevant teachings. But always we need to listen to what the Lord says to hear His will and not our own.

 

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