The Pagan Path

Those who wonder are not lost; they are trying to awaken! 'The Sleeper must awaken!'

Monday, September 25, 2017

The Voice of the Serpent

You will not surely die. For God knows that in the day you eat of it your eyes will be opened, and you will be like God, knowing good and evil.
Genesis 3:4 & 5

So the Lord said to Cain, “Why are you angry? And why has your countenance fallen? If you do well, will you not be accepted? And if you do not do well, sin lies at the door. And its desire is for you, but you should rule over it."
Genesis 4:6 & 7

Especially in this Day & Age with the sometimes questionable wonders of Technology, it is difficult to prove beyond all shadow of a doubt to anybody, even oneself, that there IS no supernaturally evil spirit-being named Satan. Scripture DOES say, 'your adversary the devil walks about like a roaring lion, seeking whom he may devour' ( I Peter 5:8 ), but firstly ( lets make no bones about it ), Peter DID say, 'the devil', not 'Satan'. This may seem like small potatoes, nut I'm pretty sure if he had meant 'Satan', he would have said that. Secondly, Peter was accustomed to using metaphor & allegory to describe certain people or situations, for example, the only other place in the Greek Scriptures where we hear of someone ( or group of someones ) is when Jesus said ( to the Pharisees ), 'you devour widows’ houses' ( Matthew 23:14 ) Thirdly, while it is true that there is no doubt a certain spirit of wickedness behind all that is wrong in the world today, in fact, the same spirit of wickedness that the apostle warned against, it is by no means clear that this spirit is invested in one personification of evil, the mythical fallen angel we like to call Satan! 

Some may be led to wonder, 'if there's no 'Satan' to make us do bad things, maybe there's no 'God' to make us ( want to ) do good things'. In other words, if we can't say 'the devil made me do it', anymore, then maybe instead of looking to the heavens for assistance in doing good, we should just make the choice to do rightly, not wrongly, one thing rather than the other. This is not to say that our Heavenly Father does not hear our prayers or even that we shouldn't communicate with Him on a regular basis, just that we have the ability within us to choose one or the other, like Cain above. We can rule over our emotions, our Ego, or we can allow them to rule over us, in essence, to control our actions.

In the mythical & highly metaphorical Story of the Garden of Eden, the Fall of Adam & Eve  in particular, we read about a 'serpent', wiser than all the ( other ) animals, who tempted mankind with Divinity, or the ability to judge, or choose for themselves between right & wrong. As the Story goes, of course, A & E choose wrongly, to disobey the Creator God. The Story of Israel then follows this pattern, with good & bad decisions being made, thus revealing to us within the pages of Scripture a sort of comedy of errors.

Dante's 'Divine Comedy' is allegorical, as you can read in this Wikipedia article, of 'the soul's journey towards God', As you read  this poem, whether or not you agree with Dante's obvious Catholic leanings,  it is obvious that Dante' himself understood that it is through the choices we make that we wind up in  'Heaven' or 'Hell'. One can even understood this human existence as a sort of 'Purgatory', though rather than viewing as a preparation for 'Heaven' or 'Hell', we might rather see it as a purging experience, not in preparation for 'Heaven', but as 'Fit Vessels for the Master', or 'Heaven' itself!

Following the Story of his parent's Fall, or failure, Cain faced his own test, in which, because of his prevailing attitude, he, like his parents before him, failed miserably..His Story may be read as an allegory of the choices that we all face in life. When faced with whatever situation life may through at us, we can listen to our Ego, which says ( selfishly ), 'I'll do to him like he ( or she ) did to me', or we can listen to our Higher Self & treat others like we want to be treated, realizing that there is no other, that we are ALL the Image of God; thus by loving our neighbor as ourself, we are acknowledge that our neighbor IS ourself, that we are One!

Through the choices that we make, we show ourselves to be the masters of our own destiny, whether for good or evil, as the 'gods' ( Psalm 82:6 ( John 10:34 ) that Scripture itself says we are, or our own worst 'adversary'. By bowing to our Ego, by letting our emotions or feelings determine our actions ( reactions ), we become a 'devil' in the truest sense of the word. By seeking our Higher Self, though, not listening to The Voice of the Serpent, or the Ego & controlling our emotions rather than letting them control us, we show ourselves to be 'gods'!

In this sense, then & only in this sense, 'Satan is Alive & Well on Planet Earth'! As the spirit of adversity, the Ego sometimes seems to reign supreme, especially if you watch the news. The Story of the Day, though, with the recent disasters in Houston, the Caribbean & even the Keys of Florida, we are hearing, bad news, yes, but good news as well, of people overcoming their own personal feelings & coming to the aid of their fellow man. This lends hope to the future, as people love their neighbor simply because they need it!

Charles Haddon Shank

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