A COURSE IN MIRACLES
TABLE OF CONTENTS
(Click on items to go directly to that text.)
Claims were made that the "Christ" of ACIM is Jesus, and that this "Christ" explicitly identified himself as Jesus. I shall show that both claims are false.
I do not here engage in theological examination except where forced by the context. This paper is not intended as a theological dissertation. Therefore I do not examine the meaning of the name "Christ" as it is used in ACIM, except in a peripheral manner as demanded by the specific illustration.
The name "Jesus" is used seventeen times in ACIM. This is from a mass in excess of 480,000 words. The word "Christ" is used 365 times, with the plural possessive used 89 times.
I identify each case of use of the name Jesus. I examine its context, and attempt to understand the significance attached to that use.
|FROM THE TEXT|
Jesus #1: In speaking of the "Holy Spirit" ACIM states:
In order to isolate identify of the author, and show that he is not Jesus, we must examine both the biblical and ACIM context.
The quote is from Philippians 2:5 --
"Let this mind be in you, which was also in Christ Jesus."
This is from the King James Version. The context is an exhortation by Paul to the Philippi Christians that they give of themselves in service, as Jesus gave of himself. This verse was used by the author of ACIM because the form of its phrasing provided a vehicle of illustration. However, the author changed the mental association in order to accomplish his purpose. Examination of alternate translation shows how he would not have had the same convenience of choice if he had used another translation.
The Revised Standard Version, in verses three through eight, has this
The concept from our traditional text is that all be willing to give for one another, regardless of one's social state in life, and not find an excuse to avoid service by counting another person
better in possession. This was the kind of mind Jesus displayed when he humbled himself to death on the cross. Paul was asking the Philippians to have this attitude of unselfish devotion among themselves. By taking on this attitude of service one joins with Jesus.
The author of ACIM employs the verse to a new definition which he calls miracle-mindedness. Miracle-mindedness is a state of mind, just as Paul's exhortation was to a state of mind. But now the author alters the concept because he defines "miracle-mindedness" differently from mere service to others. He uses this "miracle-mindedness" to introduce a more profound relationship between himself and the student.
This more profound relationship is a request for the student to think as he thought.
"It asks that you may think as I thought, joining with me in Christ- . . ."
This instruction is more than to have the same attitude in service. The author requests the student to join with him in imitation of thought, not in emulation of service.
But the author himself does not make this request. When he says "It" we do not know if he assigns this invitation to the Bible or to "miracle-mindedness." We cannot be sure from the context. The inference is that he is calling upon "miracle-mindedness" to produce this change in thought in the student.
He clearly separates Jesus from himself when he asks the student to join with him "in Christ." If he intends that this "Christ" is Jesus, he and Jesus cannot be the same identity.
In following discussions I shall show that this "Christ" is not Jesus, but a state of mind different from Jesus which the author repeatedly invokes.
Thus the author here clearly does not identify himself as Jesus.
Now on to other examples.
|OTHER EXAMPLES IN THE TEXT|
We never again meet the name "Jesus" in the TEXT, Vol I of ACIM.
Nor do we ever meet it in the WORKBOOK FOR STUDENTS, Vol II of ACIM.
Thus we never meet the name Jesus again through 1100 pages.
This is a most notable, remarkable, and important omission of Jesus
in the "revelation" of ACIM. This glaring absence shows a deadly difficulty for the author. He does not identify Jesus throughout this long text.
|Note made August 22, 2005: We should note carefully the warning Jesus gave us in Matthew, with the parallel in Mark.|
Then if any one says to you, 'Lo, here is the Christ!' or 'There he is!' do not believe it. For false Christs and false prophets will arise and show great signs and wonders, so as to lead astray, if possible, even the elect. Lo, I have told you beforehand. So, if they say to you, 'Lo, he is in the wilderness,' do not go out; if they say, 'Lo, he is in the inner rooms,' do not believe it. For as the lightning comes from the east and shines as far as the west, so will be the coming of the Son of man. Wherever the body is, there the eagles will be gathered together.
|We can see from the condition of Jesus' Second Coming that these world events will be concomitant with His Return, and that the nature of the "great signs and wonders" are not comprehensible within our conceptual framework prior to their unfolding.|
|FROM THE MANUAL FOR TEACHERS|
We next meet the name "Jesus" on page 55 of the MANUAL FOR TEACHERS. This comes 1088 pages after the lone biblical quote on page 67.
Jesus #2: This is a section titled:
Below the title, we find the name "Jesus" seven times on two pages. The name "Jesus" in this section is limited to these two pages.
Jesus #3 and #4:
In this paragraph the "Christ" of ACIM does not identify himself as Jesus. Jesus is here described as an object of appeal, not an identification.
The author disclaims that an appeal in the name of Jesus can heal, when he says that "a name does not heal." He also denies that prayer (an invocation) can call forth any special power.
The historical records states, among other possible citations:
The Urantia Papers state:
Therefore, we cannot here identify the author of ACIM with Jesus.
Also on page 55:
The discussion here deflects direct identification of the "Christ" of ACIM with Jesus. Identification must be inferred from the theological presentation, and the presentation is open to many different interpretations. Jesus is implied as an entity different from the author, as someone who went through a process to achieve "completed learning."
This growth of Jesus, required by ACIM, may be compared to the teachings
of The Urantia Papers.
Therefore, the "Son" mentioned in this paragraph from ACIM would not be Jesus.
Also on page 55:
Jesus #6 and #7:
Here the author of ACIM boldly states that the name "Jesus Christ" is "but a symbol." The author does not acknowledge Jesus as a personality who "stands for love that is not of this world." He acknowledges only the symbol. Hence, in this presentation the author of ACIM logically cannot identify himself with Jesus, since both are personalities, and he does not acknowledge Jesus as a personality.
At the bottom of page 55 and to page 56 we meet this statement:
Again, the author of ACIM does not identify himself as Jesus. Here Jesus is again used as an object of discussion. Again, the author differentiates between Jesus and "Christ's vision." He clearly separates this "Christ" from Jesus, and adds to further confusion on whether "Christ" is a personality or a state of being.
Another use from page 56:
Here an explicit statement is made that "this course has come from him." This "course" must mean "A Course In Miracles," although the author does not exactly say so.
But is the "him" Jesus? To determine "him" we must refer to the preceding paragraph, a paragraph that comes between Jesus #8 and Jesus #9.
My commentary becomes difficult to avoid theological issues because of the statements made in this paragraph. I shall list the statements separately in order to show that the "him" who offered the "course" is not Jesus.
From this list we shall also be able to see that the "Christ" of ACIM once again does not identify himself with Jesus.
"Yet we have witnesses."
The author does not say who these witnesses are. How grateful we all would feel if he would do so. Recurrently, and repeatedly, throughout ACIM, the author refuses to make explicit identifications that would take the material of the Course beyond inference and deduction.
"It is to them that wisdom should appeal."
Since we do not know the identity of these "witnesses" we might be in grave spiritual danger if we make our appeal to "them." These unidentified "witnesses" might be Lucifer and Satan.
"There have been those whose learning far exceeds what we can learn."
Again, who are "those?" If this is Jesus talking he is stating that the learning of "those" far exceeded his learning, or what he can ever possibly learn. This admission would be contrary to the illustration I offered above about the perfectness of Christ Michael as the Creator.
If this is another personality talking he is admitting his own limitations, not those of Jesus. Did the learning of Lucifer and Satan far exceed the learning of Caligastia? Probably. Caligastia has yet to learn his lesson.
"Nor would we teach the limitations we have laid on us."
Who is "us?" What limitations? Who laid these limitations? Again, if this is Jesus talking he was limited as God.
The Urantia Papers are careful in their discussion of the limitation of Creator attributes.
The author of ACIM certainly is not talking about the limitations of Creatorship, but rather about his limitations as a created being. The framework of discussion is of subservience to higher authority which can impose limitations. It is this imposition under which the author chafes.
Were these the rules for righteousness imposed by God upon his Created Planetary Princes? Limitations which the author of ACIM would not now teach?
Obviously, this paragraph is a massive theological entanglement buried in nebulosity and vacuity.
I now come to the second strand. A change in emphasis takes place which alters the subject of discussion. The author changes from the plural "we" and "us" of the first strand. He now uses "he," "his," and "him."
"No one who has become a true and dedicated teacher of God forgets his brothers. Yet what he can offer them is limited by what he learns himself."
Is the author of ACIM here referring to Jesus or to himself? If he means Jesus then Jesus is severely limited by what he learns! The limited learning of Jesus conditions what Jesus can teach his brothers! Thus we can see how the author defames and denies the power of Jesus if the student comes to such conclusion. If the author is not Jesus then he is the one who is so limited.
"Then turn to one who laid all limits by, and went beyond the farthest reach of learning. He will take you with him, for he did not go alone. And you were with him then, as you are now."
Here the author seems to change emphasis. He is stating that he took action to exceed those limits which were placed upon him.
This really is a complaint. The author is objecting to those limitations. He is stating that he had the power to exceed those limitations. What he means by "the farthest reach of learning" is another of those nebulous introductions of thought which befuddle the thread of concepts.
Where was this personality, who was he, and how were we with him then? If the author of ACIM is the one who laid all limits by, not Jesus, then the "he" and the "him" must be the author of ACIM.
My purpose here is to solidify our determination of the author of ACIM, and to show that he never directly identifies himself as Jesus. By the time one has progressed through the conceptual confusion of this paragraph one is isolated from the Jesus of the preceding paragraph. Then the "him" we are attempting to identify in this intervening paragraph is not the Jesus of the preceding paragraph, although the author leaves us with mere fog in our attempts to determine his meaning. That probably was his purpose. Yet again he left the reader to infer, while deflecting good, solid thinking. But nowhere is there a specific identification of the author with Jesus.
"Jesus has come to answer yours."
Once again this is a third-person use which avoids direct identification of the author with Jesus.
The obscurity of phrasing throughout this paragraph (and much of ACIM) merely reinforces our conclusion that the author of ACIM cannot afford to specifically identify himself as Jesus.
The next section on Jesus comprises two pages out of 1188 pages of text. The name Jesus is used four times in this section.
Jesus #10: Page 83 begins with the title:
Presumably, the author of ACIM will now, after 1183 pages, give us his definition of Jesus. He does not.
Jesus #11 & #12:
Here the author states that Jesus, the man, was an illusion. According to this author Jesus, this illusion, saw the face of Christ in all his brothers. What was the "Christ" Jesus saw in all his brothers? Apparently Jesus had to see this "Christ" in his brothers before he could identify with it. Thus the author explicitly states that Jesus earlier was not Christ, and later acquired identity with this "Christ" according to this recipe. According to The Urantia Papers Jesus was not Christ, and therefore would not have identified himself with this "CHRIST," or any other "Christ." According to this ACIM teaching Jesus became one with God AFTER he identified with this "CHRIST." Such teaching is gross perversion of all Christian belief and the teachings of The Urantia Papers.
These statements are supremely important to our understanding. Obviously, the term "Christ" is used once again in conflicting conceptual terms. Here the author invokes one sense to mean a state of being, "the face of Christ," and not personality. But the use confuses us. The author turns around and implies personality in the illustration. Jesus identified with this "Christ." Was this "Christ" a state of being or was it personality? We cannot explicitly determine the meaning of the author.
The author then switches subjects in the last sentence. He introduces us to another Christ. This other "Christ" needed the form of Jesus "that He might appear to men and save them from their own illusions." Obviously, the author is differentiating between this other "Christ" and Jesus. This other "Christ" needed the form of Jesus.
Truly, this is an exact and precise statement, one of the most clear sentences in the entire Course. The author had to take on the appearance of Jesus to accomplish his ends. He did so by assuming the name Christ. This is the "Christ" who will save men from their own illusions. But this is not an identification as Jesus. The author states explicitly that he takes on the "form" of Jesus.
If the "Christ" of ACIM has been redefined, as its adherents say, then this "Christ" cannot be Jesus. In fact, the author tells us explicitly that Jesus became completely identified with this "Christ." Again this implies a spiritual state, not a personality. Thus Jesus became identified with this concept the author introduces into his presentation. The name "Christ" did not become identified as Jesus.
Such statement is contrary to two thousand years of Christian tradition, and actual reality.
Jesus could not have become identified with this "Christ" unless this "Christ" was something different from Jesus. And this "Christ" was "the perfect Son of God, His one creation and His happiness, forever like Himself and one with Him." Jesus was not this "Christ," this "perfect Son of God," until he identified with this "Christ." Again we see the blasphemy, denying the status of Jesus as Creator and God. Again we see the confusion in concept. This "Christ" is different from Jesus because he did not become like Jesus; Jesus became like this "Christ." In other words, this "Christ" was first, and Jesus was second, since Jesus identified himself with this "Christ." Thus Jesus led the way for all of us to follow this "Christ." Jesus then leads us back to this "God." Thus Jesus became the example of how we should follow this "Christ" and this "God."
The author of ACIM is positively making Jesus subservient to this "Christ." Since this "Christ" is someone other than Jesus, the author makes Jesus subservient to this state of being, or other being. That is exactly what he wishes.
We now go to page 84. This is still under the section titled JESUS CHRIST.
Here we have an explicit statement from the author of ACIM that "Christ" takes many forms with many different names. Jesus is not unique. But, again, we have no direct identification of the "Christ" of ACIM with Jesus. How could a "spirit personality" identify with one, if there are many forms with different names?
Page 85 has still another section defining
This section has three references to Jesus, all on one page.
This paragraph offers more obfuscation. Jesus apparently became completely identified with "the Christ," the Son of God, as He created him. I am not sure who created what from this twisted sentence. But the author of ACIM is not identifying himself with Jesus.
In all the theological teaching in ACIM which describes the attributes of Jesus, Jesus is subjected to a secondary role, inferior to this "Christ."
Jesus #16 & #17:
Here the Holy Spirit has established Jesus as the leader in carrying out His plan, making Jesus subservient to the "Holy Spirt."
Again there is no identification of the author of ACIM with Jesus.
1. The author of ACIM never identifies himself as Jesus.
2. Nowhere, in any of the text of ACIM, is there clear identification of Jesus as the author. Since the "Christ" of ACIM never identifies himself as Jesus, all ascriptions of authorship are to this "Christ" and not to Jesus.
3. In all cases in which Jesus serves in a functional role in ACIM, and not merely as an object of reference, he is made subservient to another being, or a state of being.
4. The vast body of text of ACIM uses inference and deduction, not explicit identification, to lead the student into a swamp of conceptual confusion.
5. The appeal of ACIM, as with all other channeled materials, is on emotions and feelings, not on rigor of thought or righteousness.
6. As I illustrated above, (Jesus #1), the concentration of ACIM is on self, and not on service.
7. The sadly mistaken notion that ACIM was written by Jesus, a notion that conditions our eternal survival, was based strictly on assumption, out of use of the word Christ, exactly as the author intended.
8. After study of ACIM I become acutely aware of the difference between the light offered by The Urantia Papers, and the darkness offered by ACIM.
9. All those who adhere to the teachings of ACIM have placed themselves in eternal jeopardy. Such individuals cannot discern the difference between light and darkness.
They are following false Christs.