WHY IS IT THAT EVERY SECT INTERPRETS THE BIBLE DIFFERENTLY AND THAT EACH ONE GETS AN APPARENT VINDICATION FOR ITS IDEAS FROM THAT BOOK?
ANSWER: That question, if asked by a skeptic, affords him a great deal of satisfaction, for he sees in it A VINDICATION FOR HIS IDEA that all sects are wrong in their beliefs and that the Bible is a conglomerate mass of nonsense, while in fact the case is very much the other way. We do not contend for the Divinity of this Book or hold that it is the Word of God from cover to cover; we recognize the fact that it is a poor translation of the originals and that there are many interpolations which have been inserted at different times to support various ideas, but, nevertheless, the very fact that so much truth has been massed into such a small compass is a source of constant wonder to the occultist, who knows what that Book really is and has the key to its meaning.
There is one fact that the skeptic fails to see. His idea is that if a certain interpretation is true, all other interpretations must necessarily be false. That idea is most emphatically wrong. TRUTH IS MANY SIDED and eternal; the quest for truth must also be all embracing and never ending. We may liken truth to a mountain, and the various interpretations of that truth to different paths leading up to the summit. Many people are traveling along all of these paths and every one thinks his path is the only one while he is at the bottom; he sees only a small part of the mountain and may therefore be justified in crying to his brothers, "You are wrong; come over in my path; this is the only one that leads to the top." But as all these people progress upward, they shall see that the paths converge at the top and that they are all one in the ultimate.
It may be said most emphatically that no system of thought which has ever been able to attract and hold the attention of a large number of people for a considerable time has been without its truth; and whether we perceive it or not, there is in every sect the kernel of divine teaching which is gradually bringing them upward toward the top of the mountain, and therefore we should practice the utmost toleration for every belief.
DO THE ROSICRUCIANS ACCEPT THE BIBLE AS THE "WORD OF GOD" FROM COVER TO COVER?
ANSWER: Certainly not, and more particularly not in the extremely narrow interpretation of some people who think that the book we now have with us is the only genuine one ever given to humanity. At most, it could be only one of the BOOKS of God, for there are many other sacred writings which have a claim to recognition and cannot be ruled out of court by a few wiseacres such as those who have delegated the so-called apocryphal books to the literary scrap heap.
In the first place it should be remembered that the Old Testament was written in Hebrew at various times and by numerous writers, and that no collection of these writings was made prior to Ezra. Of these Hebrew writings, there is not now a single scrap in existence. Even as long ago as 280 B.C. the Hebrew language had been abandoned, so far as scriptural writing was concerned, and the Septuagint, or Greek Translation, was in general use. That was the only Bible in existence at the time of the birth of Christ. Later some of the Hebrew writings were collected and collated by the Masoretes, a sect which existed about 700 A.D. This is the best and most accurate text.
The English translation, most in use today, is the King James Version, but His Majesty was not so much after accuracy in translation as after peace, and the act which authorized the translation of the Bible prohibited the translators from translating any passages in such a way that it would interfere with existing beliefs. This was done to avoid any uprising or dissension in his kingdom, and of the forty-seven translators, only three were Hebrew scholars and two of them died before the Psalms had been translated. A number of the books were thrown aside as apocryphal, and altogether words were wrenched out of their original meaning to conform to the superstition of the age. Martin Luther, in Germany, translated from the Latin text which had itself been translated from the Greek and thus the chances of conveying wrong meanings have been enhanced in many and various ways. Add to this that in the old style Hebrew vowel points are omitted and there is no division into words, so that by inserting vowel points in different ways, words and sentences of entirely different meanings may be obtained from almost any sentence. In view of these facts it is evident that the chances of our getting an accurate version of what was originally written are small indeed.
Moreover, it was not intended by the original writers to make the Bible an open "Book of God," as can well be seen by the following quotation from the Zohar: "Woe to the man who sees in the Torah (the law--the Bible) only simple recitals and ordinary words, because if in truth it contained only these, we would even today be able to compose a Torah more worthy of admiration. But it is not so; each word in the Torah contains an elevated meaning and a sublime mystery...The recitals of the Torah are the vestments of the Torah...Woe to him who takes this vestment of the Torah for the Torah itself...The simple take notice of the garments and recitals of the Torah alone; they know no other thin, they see not that which is concealed under the vestment; the more instructed men do not pay attention to the vestment, but to that which it envelops"...
In other words, they pay no attention to the letter, but take only the spirit. And, as in a field sown with potatoes there are not only these VEGETABLES, but also THE SOIL in which they are hidden, SO IN THE BIBLE THE PEARLS OF OCCULT TRUTH ARE HIDDEN IN WHAT ARE OFTEN HIDEOUS GARMENTS. The occultist who has fitted himself to possess these pearls has received the key, and sees them plainly. To others they remain obscure until they also have worked for that key. Thus, while the story of the wanderings of the children of Israel and the dealings of a certain God with them are partially true, there is also a spiritual significance that is far more important than that material history. Even though the Gospels contain the great outlines of the life of an individual called Jesus, they are formulae of initiation showing the experiences which everyone must eventually pass through on THE WAY TO THE TRUTH AND THE LIFE.
This path was foreseen by the various persons who wrote the Bible and who were thus prophets and seers, but only in so far as that was possible at their time and age. A new era will require a new Bible, a new word.
WHAT IS THE VIEWPOINT OF THE ROSICRUCIANS CONCERNING THE CREATION OF THE WORLD IN SEVEN DAYS?
ANSWER: There are two creation stories in the Bible. One commences with the first verse of the opening chapter and ends with the third verse of the second chapter of Genesis. Another account commences with the fourth verse.
These two creation stories seem to be greatly at variance in several particulars. The first account states that in the beginning the earth was covered with water; the second avers that it was dry. The first informs us that man was created last; the second version says he was the first creature, etc. These discrepancies seem to be irreconcilable, and afford the skeptic great satisfaction when he recounts them with a smile of supercilious pity for the poor ignorant fools who believe such silly nonsense. Yet the two accounts are not really incongruous, they are complementary and in harmony with scientific facts. The first account deals with the genesis of form, the second chapter with the evolution of consciousness. The human FORM as at present constituted is the chef-d'oeuvre of evolution, built upon the basis of all lower forms which have gone before. The LIFE which is man, THE THINKER, is without beginning or end, eternal as God Himself, and that LIFE was here before all FORMS, as told by the second creation story.
Regarding the time in which this creation of FORM is said to have taken place, the Rosicrucians do not teach or believe that it was accomplished in seven days of twenty-four hours each, but in our scheme of manifestation seven great transformations of the earth are necessary to facilitate the full evolution of self-consciousness and soul power by the evolving spirits. Three and one-half of these periods have been spent in obtaining vehicles; the remainder will be required for the evolution of consciousness.
The opening verse of the Bible states that in the beginning the earth was dark and without definite form. That was in the SATURN PERIOD, when the incipient firemist was forming from the root substance of space.
The third verse informs us that God said "Let there by Light," a passage which has been jeered at as showing the ignorance of the authors and the inconsistency of the account with scientific facts; for, says the scoffer, "When the sun and moon were not created till the fourth day, how could there be light previous to that time? We are not dealing with the world as it is today, a solid mass. That, of course, would be dark without an outside source of light, but at that time the earth was a world in the making, and according to the nebular theory there must first be the stage of dark heat to which we have given the name Saturn Period. Later the mist is ignited and luminous; THE LIGHT IS WITHIN and is not dependent upon an exterior sun and moon. This second stage in the development of our planet is called the SUN PERIOD.
Next we are told that God said, "Let there be 'an expansion' in the waters to divide the water from the water." The word here rendered "expansion" is translated "firmament" in the authorized version, but we use the Masoretic text, which was translated by translators of knowledge, who were unrestricted by a royal edict such as that which hampered King James' translators. The use of the term "expansion" harmonizes the Bible with the nebular theory, for, when a firemist appears in space moisture is generated by the contact of this heated mass with the surrounding space, which is cold. This moisture becomes heated AND EXPANDS into steam which rushes outward from the fiery core, is there cooled, and condensed, and gravitates back to the source of heat. THUS THE EXPANSION IN THE WATERS DIVIDED THE WATER FROM THE WATER, the dense moisture remaining nearest the fiery core and the steam outside. This stage in the consolidation of the earth is called the MOON PERIOD.
The continual boiling of the water surrounding the fiery core finally caused an incrustation and dry land appeared. We are told that "God called the dry land Earth."
During the first part of the present Period the earth was as dark as in the Saturn Period. Only mineral substances existed them. This stage is called the POLARIAN EPOCH.
The fiery Sun Period finds its replica in the HYPERBOREAN EPOCH, which is described in verses 11-19 as the time when plants were generated, and the earth became a planet lighted from without by sun and moon. This ends the work described as having been performed on the fourth great day in the development of our earth.
In the LEMURIAN EPOCH we have a recapitulation of conditions during the Moon Period, a fiery core and an atmosphere of fire fog, also the genesis of the lower grades of animals, described in the Bible story as the work of the fifth day.
In the ATLANTEAN EPOCH the vertebrate mammals and man were formed, as described under the heading of the sixth day, and when man became a reasoning being in the present ARYAN EPOCH, the Gods rested to let him work out his own salvation under the twin laws of Rebirth and Causation.
THE BIBLE TEACHES THE IMMORTALITY OF THE SOUL IN AN AUTHORITATIVE MANNER. THE ROSICRUCIAN PHILOSOPHY TEACHES THE SAME PROFESSEDLY BY APPEALING TO REASON. ARE THERE NO POSITIVE PROOFS OF IMMORTALITY?
ANSWER: The inquirer is mistaken when he says that the Bible teaches the immortality of the SOUL. There is not a single mention of the word IMMORTALITY or heaven in the sense of a possession of man in the Old Testament. There it is explicitly stated that "Heaven, even the heavens are the Lord's, but THE EARTH has he given to the children of men"; Psalms 115, 16th verse. It is explicitly taught that "the soul that sinneth, it shall die." If the soul were immortal that would be an impossibility. In the New Testament the word "immortal" or "immortality" is only used six times. It is designated as something to be striven for, or something which is an attribute of God.
So far as THE SPIRIT is concerned, however, the case is different, and even where that is the theme, the word immortal is not used. Immortality is implied in the same way that doctrine of rebirth is implied in so many passages, but even the doctrine of rebirth has the advantage of the doctrine of rebirth was taught DEFINITELY at least once in Matthew 11:14, where the Christ said of John the Baptist, "This is Elijah." In this teaching the doctrine of immortality was again implied, for if the spirit Elijah was reborn as John the Baptist he must have survived bodily death. The teaching of immortality was at that time one of the mystery teachings, and even to this day it can hardly be received until a man has entered the path of initiation and there sees for himself the continuity of life.
It may be stated, however, in answer to the question, that everything hinges upon what is meant by "POSITIVE PROOF," and what the qualifications of the person are who asks for the proof to judge of these proofs? We cannot prove a problem in trigonometry to an infant, but if the infant is given time to grow and is properly taught the preliminaries, it will be easy to prove the problem. Neither can we prove the existence of color and light to a man who was born blind; they are facts which he cannot appreciate, because lacking in the requisite faculty. But if he acquires the faculty to sight by an operation, it will be unnecessary to prove these facts to him, he will then see their verity. For similar reason no one can appreciate proofs of the immortality of the spirit until he has fitted himself to see the spirit; then it will be easy for him to obtain positive proof of the immortality of spirit, its existence prior to birth and persistence after death. Until he has thus qualified himself, he must be satisfied with reasonable inferences such as may be obtained in many ways.
IS THERE ANY AUTHORITY IN THE BIBLE FOR THE THEORY OF REBIRTH?
ANSWER: Yes, there is plenty of authority, although it is only taught directly in one place. The Jewish priests believed in the theory of rebirth, or they would not have sent to ask John the Baptist "Art thou Elijah?" as it is recorded in the first Chapter of John in the twenty-first verse; and in the Gospel of Matthew, we have the words of Christ concerning John the Baptist which are unambiguous and unequivocal. He said, "This IS Elijah." Also on the later occasion, at the time when they had been upon the Mount of Transfiguration, the Christ said, "Elijah has come and they have done to him as they listed," and we are told that the disciples "knew He was speaking of John" who had then been beheaded by Herod.
In Matthew, the 16th chapter, 14th verse, He is asking His disciples "Who do the people say I am?" and the answer which they give Him is "Some say that you are John the Baptist, others say that you are Elijah, and again other say that you are Jeremiah or one of the Prophets." It is noteworthy that the Christ did not contradict them at all, for He was a teacher, and if they had entertained a wrong idea concerning the doctrine of rebirth, it would have been His undoubted duty to set them right. But He did not do that. He moreover taught it directly, as per the above passage.
There are also cases mentioned in the Bible, where a person has been chosen for a certain work BEFORE HIS BIRTH. An Angel foretold the coming of Samson and his mission--to slay the Philistines. The Lord said to the prophet Jeremiah, "Before thou camest out of the womb, I sanctified thee and I ordained thee a prophet unto the nations." John and Jesus had their mission allotted to them before they were born. A person is chosen for a mission because of a special fitness. Proficiency presupposes practice and practice prior to birth must have been in a previous life. Thus the doctrine of rebirth is also taught by implication in the cases cited.
ACCORDING TO THE BIBLE ONLY MAN WAS GIVEN A SOUL. WHY DO YOU THEN SAY THAT THE ANIMALS HAVE A GROUP SPIRIT?
ANSWER: In the first chapter of Genesis, verse 20, we are told that God said: "Let the water bring forth abundantly the moving creature that has LIFE." The world used in Hebrew is NEPHESH, which means "BREATH." That word is also used in the second chapter, verse 7, where it is said that "The Lord God formed man of the dust of the ground and breathed into his nostrils THE BREATH OF LIFE (nephesh), and man became a 'nephesh chayim,' a BREATHING CREATURE." Not a living soul, as there translated. The translation of King James has been modified by people who had a little more regard for the truth than for preconceived ideas; they have consented to put the word "SOUL" in the margin as an alternative reading of the word in chapter 1, verse 20, where the creation of the animals is recorded, so that EVEN IN THE BIBLES OF TODAY, IT IS ADMITTED THAT ANIMALS HAVE A SOUL.
This translation is not correct, however; nephesh means BREATH and not soul; the Hebrew word for soul is neshamah. Soul is not synonymous with spirit, which is called RUACH, so that Genesis does not mention THE SPIRIT of either man or animal, for spirit has no genesis, IT IS. The FORMS of animal and man which are sustained by BREATH had a beginning and that is what Genesis records. That idea is perfectly in line with the words of Solomon in Ecclesiastes 3:19, where we are told that (SO FAR AS THE BODY FORMED OF THE DUST IS CONCERNED) man has no pre- eminence above the beast, for as one dieth so dieth the other, THEY HAVE ALL ONE BREATH (nephesh) and as one dieth so dieth the other. All go unto one place (namely, the Desire World).
If the inquirer accepts only the English word and version of the Bible, as if that book had been written directly in our language, it would seem fair to ask: If man obtained his soul as described in the Bible, where did woman receive her soul; or is she without a soul?
IF GOD MADE MAN IN HIS IMAGE AND LIKENESS, SUPPOSEDLY PERFECT, WHY WERE THE DIFFERENT EPOCHS PRIOR TO THE FALL OF ADAM AND EVE NECESSARY?
ANSWER: The inquirer is laboring under a misapprehension. The Bible says that God saw his work, and that is was "GOOD," but not PERFECT. Had it been perfect, there would have been nothing further to do, and evolution would have been superfluous. The human race did not become definitely human until the latter part of the Lemurian Epoch when the spirit commenced to draw into the bodies. The humanity of that time, Adam and Eve, were very different from our present day humanity. They were also products of evolution, for there is no instantaneous creation. These beings had progressed through stage of plant-like and animal-like development from the mineral kingdom wherein they started, and it was not a single pair, as is usually understood by orthodox religionists, but a humanity that was both male and female at the time mentioned in the Bible. It is said that male and female created He them, moreover, it was not the first time that man had been upon the earth, or that the earth had been peopled, as can be seen from Genesis 1:28, where they were commanded to go out and RE-plenish the earth, showing that the earth had been the abode of certain other beings previous to the advent of those which are called Adam and Eve. Josephus says that Adam means "RED EARTH" and the Hebrew "ADMAH," from which Adam is derived, means "firm ground"; that described the state very well. Adm (as it is given in the Hebrew text), did not come upon the earth until it had solidified and become firm, yet he came before the earth had become properly cooled as it is now, an so the earth was really in a RED and fiery state at that time. He had been here before. During the earlier Epochs before the Lemurian, the spirits hovered over the fiery earth and helped to form and mold it as it is now. The human spirits were at that time learning lesson with which we have no present concern. We were unconscious at that time, but did the work just as well as, for instance, our digestive organs perform the chemical operations necessary to digestion and assimilation although we are unaware of these processes in our conscious mind. It must be plain, however, that as the work of children in the kindergarten and grammar school is the all important foundation for the later teachings of high school and college, so were the earlier epochs the foundation stones for our present conditions. They were as necessary as it is to learn the alphabet before we attempt to read.
IS THE TREE OF LIFE SPOKEN OF IN THE BIBLE THE SAME AS THE PHILOSOPHER'S STONE OF THE ALCHEMISTS?
ANSWER: Yes and no. To understand the matter it is necessary to go back in the history of mankind. There was a time when humanity was double sexed and capable of generating a body without the help of another. But when it became necessary to build the brain in order that the spirit might be able to CREATE BY THOUGHT as well as in the Physical World, one-half the sex force was retained to build an organ of thought. Then it became necessary for each to seek the cooperation of another who expressed the opposite pole of the creative force which he had available himself for sex purposes. Having no brain, and as "their eyes had not been opened," they were of course unconscious in the Physical World and unable to guide themselves. Therefore, the Angels herded them together at certain times of the year when the planetary forces were propitious to perform the generative act as a religious sacrifice, whereby they gave up part of their bodies for the generation of a vehicle for another spirit. In that close embrace, the spirit first pierced the veil of the flesh and Adam "KNEW" his wife. Later on, when the consciousness of humanity had become focused a little more upon the Physical World and a few among them had begun dimly to perceive the bodies of which we now are so thoroughly conscious, these pioneers began to preach the gospel of the body, telling the others that they possessed a physical body, for the majority were then unconscious of that instrument as we are now of having a stomach when in good health.
Then it was noticed that those bodies died, and the question arose among the pioneers as to how such a body could be replaced. The solution was given to man by a certain class of spirits who were stragglers from the evolution of the Angels, demi-gods, as we might say. These Lucifer Spirits, or light givers, enlightened nascent humanity regarding their powers of generating a body at any time. But these bodies were not perfect then--they are not perfect today--and of course generation without reference to the planetary conditions has produced even inferior bodies to what would have been otherwise generated, in addition to the painful parturition prophesied by the Angel.
Since then the generative function has been exercised unrestrictedly by the ignorant human race. But by the fact of death it has been possible for the Angels to teach humanity between death and a new birth how to build a gradually improving body. Had man learned in that far past how to renew his vital body, a he was taught to generate a dense vehicle at his own pleasure, then death would indeed have been an impossibility and man would have become immortal as the Gods. But he would then have immortalized his imperfections and made progress an impossibility. It is the renewal of this vital body which is expressed in the Bible as "eating of the Tree of Life." At the time of his enlightenment concerning generation man was a spiritual being whose eyes were not yet blinded by the material world, and he might have learned the secret of vitalizing his body at will, thus frustrating evolution. Thus we see that death, when it comes naturally, is not a curse but our greatest and best friend, for it frees us from an instrument from which we can learn no more; it takes us out of an environment which we have outgrown, that we may learn to build a better body in an environment of wider scope in which we can make more progress toward the goal of perfection.
In this pilgrimage there comes at last a time when man is fitted to have the powers of LIFE. The body which he has made for himself becomes pure and is of service for a much longer time than heretofore. Then he begins to seek after the philosopher's stone, the elixir vitae, or whatever name he may choose to employ. The alchemists aimed to manufacture this pure and holy vehicle, but not by a chemical process in a laboratory, as supposed by the ignorant multitude. Nomenclature which gave color to that idea was made necessary because they lived in an age when a dominant and apostate church could have brought them to death had the truth been known. When they spoke of transmuting base metals to gold, they spoke the truth not only from the material standpoint but also from the spiritual, for gold has ever been the symbol of spirit and these alchemists aimed to spiritualize their bodies, which are of baser mixture.
Everywhere the pure and beautiful symbol of transparency has been given to designate the power of purity. In the Old Testament we hear of the Temple of Solomon that was "built without sound of hammer." The most beautiful ornament there was THE MOLTEN SEA. Hiram Abiff, the master-workman, AS HIS FINAL ACHIEVEMENT, succeeded in smelting all the metals of the earth into an alloy as TRANSPARENT AS GLASS. In the New Testament we are told the last about a beautiful city having in its midst A SEA OF GLASS. In the East, the initiate aims to become the diamond-soul, pure and transparent. In the West the Philosopher's Stone is the symbol of the purified soul extracted from the bodies which have been transmuted and spiritualized. The soul that sinneth, it shall die, but the pure soul is immortalized by the elixir vitae, the "TREE OF LIFE," into a vital body that will last millenniums as a vehicle for the spirit.
IS THERE AN OCCULT SIGNIFICANCE IN THE VARIOUS CHRISTIAN FEASTS OF THE YEAR?
ANSWER: Yes, the feasts of the year have the very deepest occult significance. From the material point of view, the planets are but so many masses of matter going about in their orbits in obedience to so-called blind laws, but to the occultists they appear as Great Spirits, moving about in space as we move in the world.
When a man is seen gesticulating, we attach a certain significance to his gestures. If he shakes his head, we know that he is negativing a certain proposition, but if he nods, we infer he agrees. If he beckons, having the palms of his hands turned toward him, we know that he is motioning for someone to come to him, but if he turns the palms outward, we understand that he is warning someone to stay away. In the case of the universe, we usually do not think that there is any significance to the altered position of the planets, but to the occultist there is the very deepest meaning in all the varied phenomena of the heavens. They correspond to the gestures of man.
Krishna means anointed, and anyone who had a special mission to perform was so anointed in olden times. When, in the winter time, the sun is below the equator at the nadir point of its travel, the spiritual impulses are the greatest in the world. For our material welfare, however, it is necessary that the sun should come again into the northern hemisphere, and so we speak of the time when the sun starts upon its journey northward as Christmas, the birthday of the Savior, anointed to save us from the famine and cold which would ensue if he were to stay at the nadir point always.
As the sun passes toward the equator, it goes through the sign Aquarius, the water-man, at that time the earth is deluged with rain, symbolizing the baptism of the Savior. Then comes the passage of the sun through the sign Pisces, the fishes, in the month of March. The stores of the past year have been all consumed, and the food of man is scant, hence we have the long fast of LENT, where the eating of fish symbolizes this feature of the solar journey. Then comes THE PASSOVER, when the sun PASSED OVER the equator. This is the time of EASTER, when the sun is at his EASTERN node, and this CROSSING of the equator is symbolized by the CROSSIFICATION OR CRUCIFIXION, so called, of the Savior; the sun then goes into the sign of Aries, the Ram, and becomes the Lamb of God, which is given for the salvation of the world at the time when the plants begin to sprout. In order that the sacrifice may be of benefit to man, however, he (the sun) must ascend into the heavens where his rays will have power to ripen the grape and the corn, and so we have the feast of the Ascension of the Savior to the Throne of the Father, which is at the summer solstice in June. There the sun remains for three days, when the saying "Thence he shall return" takes effect as the sun commences his passage toward the western node. At the time when he enters the sign Virgo, the Virgin, we have the feast of THE ASSUMPTION and later on, when he leaves the sign Virgo, THE NATIVITY of the virgin, who seems, as it were, to be born from the sun.
THE JEWISH FEAST OF TABERNACLES occurred at the time when the sun was crossing the equator on its passage into the winter months, and this feast was accompanied by the weighing in of the corn and the harvest of the wine, which were the gifts of the solar God to his human worshipers.
Thus all the feasts of the year are connected with the motions of the stars through space.
WHAT IS MEANT BY EVERLASTING SALVATION AND DAMNATION?
ANSWER: The orthodox religions say that those who have done well in this life are saved, that is to say, they will go to a heaven not very clearly defined, and those who fail to reach this salvation are plunged into a hell of which not very much is known save that it is a place of misery. The good and the bad stay in their respective places, once they have been judged; there is no redemption for the lost souls, and no danger of a fall for those once saved.
Such an interpretation is radically wrong, if the Greek dictionary is taken as authority, for obviously the meaning hinges upon the word translated "EVERLASTING." That word is AIONIAN, and in the dictionary it is translated to mean "an age, an indefinite period, a lifetime," etc. What, then, is the true meaning of the passage quoted we may ask ourselves, and in order to find that meaning it will be necessary to take a comprehensive view of life.
In the beginning of manifestation, God, a great flame, differentiates a vast number of incipient flames or sparks WITHIN Himself, not FROM Himself, for it is an actual fact that "IN Him we live and move and have our being." NOTHING CAN EXIST OUTSIDE GOD. So within Himself, God differentiates these countless souls. Each of them is POTENTIALLY divine, each enfolds all His powers as the seed enfolds the plant, but as the seed must be buried in the ground to bring forth the plant, so it is necessary that these divine sparks should be immersed in material vehicles in order that they may learn lessons that can be mastered only in such a separative existence as there is in the world.
The world may be regarded as a training school for the evolving spirits. Some of them started early and applied themselves diligently to the task before them; consequently they progressed rapidly. Others started later and are laggards. They are therefore left behind in the race; but all will ultimately attain the goal of perfection. In consequence of the foregoing fact there are a number of classes of these pilgrim spirits, and before one set, or class, of spirits can be moved up another step in evolution it is necessary that they should have attained a certain standard of proficiency. They are SAVED from a lower condition which they have outgrown. Once this measure of efficiency has been acquired, they are promoted into another race, another epoch. But among a large number there are always laggards, and these are CONDEMNED to stay in the class where they are until they have arrived at the stage of growth required for advancement. The plan is similar to the method in which children in a school are promoted into the next higher class AT THE YEARLY EXAMINATIONS if they have attained a certain standard of knowledge; if not, they are CONDEMNED to stay behind--NOT FOREVER, BUT ONLY UNTIL ANOTHER YEAR'S EXAMINATION PROVES THAT THEY HAVE QUALIFIED.
The foregoing is not a distorted or a wrong representation of the meaning of the word aionian. It has been used other places in the Bible in a manner which bears out our contention. For instance, in Paul's letter to Philemon, where he returns to him the slave Onesimus with the words, "Perhaps it was well that you should lose him for a time that he might be given back to you FOREVER." The word "forever" is the same word aionian which is translated EVERLASTING in connection with damnation and salvation, and it will be readily seen that in this case it can only mean a part of a lifetime, for neither Paul or Philemon, as such, would live forever.
The Rosicrucian Philosophy In Questions and Answers
by Max Heindel, The Rosicrucian Fellowship