Editor's Choice

"Resurrection is accomplished by the wind of heaven that sweeps the worlds"

Harold Bloom, Omens of the Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection

"Resurrection can be judged as one of the sharpest Valentinian differences from dogmatic Christianity, a difference that appears in Sufism and other esoteric traditions, and in many varieties of what I have called the American Religion, the denominations and sects indigenous to the United States. As in earlier Gnostic religion, resurrection for Valentinus is distinctly not something that takes place after death. Henry Corbin, in support of his Sufi Gnostics, quotes from Balzac's novella Louis Lambert, itself a Hermetic tale:

Resurrection is accomplished by the wind of heaven that sweeps the worlds. The Angel carried by the wind does not say: Arise ye dead! He says: Let the living arise!

This is the kernel of the Valentinian resurrection: to know releases the spark, and one rises up from the body of this death. Ignorance falls away, one ceases to forget, one is again part of the Fullness. The Valentinian Gospel According to Philip, a sort of anthology, has nine crucial passages on resurrection, of which the bluntest insists, 'Those who say the lord first died and then arose are mistaken, for he first arose and then died.' Another adds, 'While we exist in this world we must acquire resurrection.' Baptism, for the Valentinians as for many Americans, itself was the resurrection, again according to The Gospel of Philip:

People who say they will first die and then arise are mistaken. If they do not first receive resurrection while they are alive, once they have died they will receive nothing. Just so it is said of baptism: 'Great is baptism!' For if one receives it, one will live...

The crucial text for understanding Valentinus is the subtlest and fullest we have by him, the beautiful sermon named The Gospel of Truth, and I turn to it now seeking what is most central to Valentinus's sense of resurrection.

Layton shrewdly remarks upon the 'Gnostic rhetoric' of The Gospel of Truth, and notes its spiritual similarity, in atmosphere and in the concept of salvation-resurrection to the proto-Gnostic Gospel of Thomas, which I suspect deeply influenced Valentinus. Both works, the sermon and the collection of Jesus' 'hidden' sayings, are allied by a wonderful freedom from dogma and from myth, both Christian and Gnostic. In each, there is a directness and a passion that breaks down the barriers of reservations put up by historicizing scholars. We are addressed directly, whether by Valentinus or Jesus, and challenged to see what it is that is all around us, what it is that we already know, even if we do not know that we know...

Ruach, breath of God, experienced daily by those taking part in the Resurrection
"What makes us free, according to Christian dogma, is knowing the truth, which is Christ's Incarnation, Crucifixion, and Resurrection, and this truth is to be known by faith, the faith that at a moment, both in and out of time, these events once took place. When however we say that what makes us free is Gnosis, or 'knowing,' then we are Gnostics, and instead of believing that something was and is so (something that would be still different for Jews, and again for Muslims), we rely upon an inward knowledge rather than upon an outward belief. Gnosis is the opposite of ignorance, and not of disbelief. As an ancient Greek word widely used by Jews and Christians, Gnosis did not mean knowing that something was so, but rather just knowing someone or something, including knowing God. 'Knowing God' has a special twist that makes it the Gnosis: it is a reciprocal process in which God also knows what is best and oldest in you, a spark in you that always has been God's. This means that knowing God is primarily a process of being reminded of what you already know, which is that God never has been wholly external to you, however alienated or estranged he is from society or even the cosmos in which you dwell...

Here is Valentinus upon our present state in his one complete surviving work, the beautiful meditation The Gospel of Truth:

Thus they did not know God, since it was he whom they did not see. Inasmuch as he was the object of fear and disturbance and instability and indecisiveness and division, there was much futility at work among them on his account, and much empty ignorance—as when one falls sound asleep and finds oneself in the midst of nightmares: running toward somewhere—powerless to get away while being pursued—in hand-to- hand combat—being beaten—falling from a height—being blown upward by the air, but without any wings; sometimes, too, it seems that one is being murdered, though nobody is giving chase—or killing one's neighbors, with whose blood one is smeared; until, having gone through all these dreams, one awakens.

This nightmare of death-in-life, composed eighteen centuries ago, need but little modification. The Gnostic Jesus of The Gospel of Thomas, a wayfaring Jesus, closer to Walt Whitman than to the Jesus of the Churches, speaks to us as if each of us is a passerby, and with an ultimate eloquence tells us precisely into what we have been thrown:

But if you do not know yourselves, then you dwell in poverty, and you are poverty.
Fortunate is one who came into being, before coming into being."

Omens of the Millennium: The Gnosis of Angels, Dreams, and Resurrection,
Harold Bloom, Riverhead Books (October 1, 1997) pages 188-243

Did Jesus teach bodily resurrection of the dead?

The Second Coming of Christ (The Resurrection of the Christ within You)
"This age of logic, having struggled out of a long dark night of superstition, belies belief in a literal interpretation of Christ's words in this verse. The word 'graves' used by Jesus gave Biblical interpreters of little or no direct intuitional perception the thought that after death man's soul waits with its cold corpse entombed, able to rise only on Resurrection Day when archangel Gabriel blows his trumpet. It appears that for twenty centuries Gabriel has not sounded his trumpet, because the skeletons of millions can be found still in their graves.
This misconception of resurrection, that God would keep living souls refrigerated for years beneath the cold sod, and then suddenly warm them up to be sent to Hades or Heaven, is baseless, revolting, injurious, and unreasonable."- Paramahansa Yogananda

Did Jesus teach bodily resurrection of the dead?

"Do not marvel at this; for an hour is coming, in which all who are in the tombs shall hear His voice, and shall come forth; those who did the good deeds to a resurrection of life, those who committed the evil deeds to a resurrection of judgment." (John 5:28-29)

This age of logic, having struggled out of a long dark night of superstition, belies belief in a literal interpretation of Christ's words in this verse. The word 'graves' used by Jesus gave Biblical interpreters of little or no direct intuitional perception the thought that after death man's soul waits with its cold corpse entombed, able to rise only on Resurrection Day when archangel Gabriel blows his trumpet. It appears that for twenty centuries Gabriel has not sounded his trumpet, because the skeletons of millions can be found still in their graves.

This misconception of resurrection, that God would keep living souls refrigerated for years beneath the cold sod, and then suddenly warm them up to be sent to Hades or Heaven, is baseless, revolting, injurious, and unreasonable.

If that is the plan, what injustice it is that sinners and the virtuous alike, without discrimination, have been kept waiting for centuries. Surely the just law of cause and effect has something better to offer those who strived sincerely to live a righteous life. Are we to believe that an autocratic God, without rhyme or reason, dumps all souls after death under a clod of earth and keeps them sleeping peacefully or dreaming in nightmares for centuries until His mood suddenly chooses to command Gabriel to blow the trumpet and wake the dead? And what of those highly spiritual souls whose bodies are not buried but were cremated and the ashes scattered in the winds and seas?

If Gabriel sounds the trumpet tomorrow, souls who died today would wake up after only a few hours, along with the souls who have been dead for centuries before the time of Christ. To drug immortal souls with the sleep of death for centuries, to gag their expression in the gloom of the tomb for aeons, to chloroform their intelligence for millenniums, and then suddenly wake them up and sort them out for Heaven and Hades, is an untenable conception to ascribe to a just and loving God.

How would God select from the various grades of dead sinners and the various degrees of virtuous people, and the babies who have had no time to be either virtuous or evil, which ones are to go eternally to Heaven and which eternally to Hades? From such a medley of imperfect, half-perfect, and neutral souls no divine justice could perform any reasonable selections. If God arbitrarily makes persons of reasonable or unreasonable mentality, souls predisposed to be either good or bad, nudged by a favorable or unfavorable earthly inheritance, and endows babies with reason and then lets them die before they can express their potentials, just for the sake of variety, then this earth is a hopeless mess, and its creatures hapless puppets dancing on strings of chance. Our common sense tells us that there must be a wiser purpose from a Creator who is wisdom itself. The reason and free choice of every human being must have time and equal opportunity to evolve and express the full God-given divinity of the soul.

The true meaning of these verses becomes clear when understood in the light of the law of karma and reincarnation."

Paramahansa Yogananda, The Second Coming of Christ (The Resurrection of the Christ within You) Volume 1, Discourse 21, pg. 358-359

Resurrection refers instead to the way that Christ's presence can be experienced here and now

Reading Judas: The Gospel of Judas and the Shaping of Christianity
"That Jesus 'rose from the grave' to new life is a fundamental theme of Christian teaching; certainly it is the most radical. For even though most people believed in eternal life, the insistence of certain Christians like Irenaeus that their bodies would be buried, decompose — and yet rise again at the appointed time — was met not only with disbelief but with horror. Christians themselves were unclear about what kind of body this resurrected body would be. When Paul wrote about the resurrection, although his words are often mistaken as arguing for physical resurrection, he himself clearly says the opposite: 'What I am saying, brothers and sisters, is this: flesh and blood cannot inherit the kingdom of God, nor does the perishable inherit the imperishable'. (1 Corinthians 15:50). Without claiming to understand exactly what happens, Paul acknowledges that resurrection is a mystery, in which, he says, 'we will all be changed' from physical to spiritual existence (1 Corinthians 15:51:53)....

Yet Christians like this author, while rejecting the idea of bodily resurrection, do not reject life after death. On the contrary, they suggest other ways of envisioning what that life might be. The 'Gospel of Philip', for example, calls belief in resurrection of the flesh the 'faith of fools.' Resurrection, this gospel claims, far from being a single historical event in the past, refers instead to the way that Christ's presence can be experienced here and now. Thus, those who are' born again' in baptism, symbolically speaking, also are 'raised from the dead' when they awaken to spiritual life. Another anonymous Christian teacher, asked by a student named Rheginos to explain resurrection, wrote in reply an interpretation of what Paul had taught. Although resurrection does not involve the physical body, the teacher tells Rheginos, it is indeed a reality:

...do not think the resurrection is an illusion. It is no illusion, but it is the truth! Indeed, it is more fitting to say the world is an illusion, rather than the resurrection, which has come into being through our Lord the Savior, Jesus Christ ('Treatise on the Resurrection' 48:10-19).

Struggling to speak, as Paul had, of 'mystery,' this teacher suggests that resurrection is 'the revelation of what is, and the transformation of things, and a transition into newness.' Yet descriptions like these, he acknowledges, are only 'the symbols and the images of resurrection'; Christ alone, he says, brings us into its reality ('Treatise on the Resurrection' 48:30-49:9)."

Reading Judas: The Gospel of Thomas and the Shaping of Christianity
Elaine Pagels and Karen L. King, Penguin Group, pp. 83-87

The resurrection of the body is unintelligible

Malachi Martin, The Encounter
"The doctrine of bodily resurrection, linked closely to the soul's nature and destiny, suffers like a fate. The ancients knew little or nothing about the human organism—its chemical constituents, its functioning parts, its psychology—and even less about the nature of death. Modern man has measured corruption, can detail the chemical changes that take place when bodily life ceases, has a clear idea of what precisely corruption and decay of the human frame connote, and defines human death precisely by the cessation of the observable functions of the body. The three religions define death as the moment when the soul leaves the body.

On the other hand, the scientist cannot accept the 'outside' explanation: that a god will 'resurrect' the corrupted body. He knows that in a living body today the actual molecules which compose it were not part of it some time ago. In another decade it will be made up of molecules which at present are elsewhere: in African lions, in passion-flowers of the Amazon, in Maine lobsters, in earth in Patagonia, and in the fur of a Polar bear. For the scientist, the body as such has truly ceased to exist. No 'shade' or reduced form of the body exists in an 'underworld' or in Elysian fields. The body has ceased to exist. He therefore finds the resurrection of the body unintelligible."

Malachi Martin, The Encounter,
Farrar, Straus and Giroux, 1970, 286.

Gospel of Judas text
Gospel of Judas text

A resurrection of the body is the very last thing that Jesus, or any of his true followers, would want

"It will strike many readers as odd that the Gospel of Judas ends where it does, with the so-called betrayal. But it makes perfect sense given the views otherwise advanced in the book. The death of Jesus is a forgone conclusion: All that is needed is the means by which it will occur, and Judas does his part in making sure it will happen. That is why he 'exceeds' all the others.

There will be no resurrection. This is perhaps the key point of all. Jesus will not be raised from the dead in this book. Why would he be? The entire point of salvation is to escape this material world. A resurrection of a dead corpse brings the person back into the world of the creator. Since the point is to allow the soul to leave this world behind and to enter into 'that great and holy generation'—that is, the divine realm that transcends this world—a resurrection of the body is the very last thing that Jesus, or any of his true followers, would want.

View of Salvation
That, of course, is the goal of Jesus' true followers as well. This world and all its trappings are to be transcended. That can occur when the soul learns the truth of its origin and destination, and then escapes from the material prison of the body.

This teaching becomes clear in a key conversation between Judas and Jesus, in which 'this' generation—that is, the race of people here on earth—is contrasted with 'that' generation, the realm of the divine beings. Some people belong to this generation, some to that one. Those with the divine element within belong to that one; only they can be saved when they die. When the others—of 'this' generation— die, that will be the end of their story. As Jesus says,

The souls of every human generation will die. When these people [i.e., those who belong to the realm above], however, have completed the time of the kingdom and the spirit leaves them, their bodies will die but their souls will be alive, and they will be taken up.

In this way of understanding, humans consist of a body, a spirit, and a soul. The body is the material part that clothes the inner soul, which is the real essence of the person. The spirit is the force that animates the body, giving it life. When the spirit leaves the body, the body dies and ceases to exist. For those who belong only to this human realm, the soul then dies as well. As Jesus later says, 'It is impossible to sow seed on [rock] and harvest its fruits.' In other words, without a spark of the divine within, there will be no ongoing life. But for those who belong to the realm above, the soul lives on after death and is taken up to its heavenly home."

The Gospel of Thomas, pp. 110-2
National Geographic 2006

The Radical Easter Proclamation
Christopher J. Hale @chrisjollyhale April 19, 2014

"The Easter proclamation is perhaps the strangest and most radical message ever given: "Jesus Christ is risen from the dead." The words have become so commonplace that we've perhaps forgotten how weird and how wonderful they truly are. Along with that, there have been attempts by religious scholars in the past two centuries to reduce this resurrection message into a mythical story or a mere statement of God's faithfulness to his people.

The disciples' first reactions to this news were remarkable. You can feel their excitement jump off every page of the New Testament. The Gospel writers give an eyewitness account of what happened. Every detail mattered to them. Remember, as John tells us, the disciples were not expecting Jesus to be resurrected. After all, he was brutally executed by the Roman regime and buried in a grave. This wasn't some hack job; this was a professional execution by the most powerful government in the ancient world.

But after an encounter with the resurrected Jesus, Peter goes back to downtown Jerusalem and—filled with a new spirit—gives the first great Christian sermon. He tells the crowds the startling news that the Nazorean who was executed and buried had been raised from the dead. It's important to note that this wasn't some vague claim about God's faithfulness or about a future hope for immortality. Peter's Easter faith wasn't an abstraction. It was the result of a lived experience with Jesus of Nazareth. He had experienced for himself that complex drama about the goodness of creation, the pain of sin and brokenness and the power of God's redeeming love.

Recall that Peter himself was crucified in Rome years later under the regime of Nero. He didn't die for defending a faith in mythical and philosophical claim, but for defending a faith in a historical person and event.

For the followers of Jesus, the historical resurrection of Jesus from the dead changed everything. The excitement of the early Church even bordered on arrogance. Paul's holy taunt embodies this: "O death where is your sting! O hell, where is your victory!" While the disciples' journey with the resurrected Jesus transformed their lives, it sometimes appears to not have the same effect on today's Christians. As Pope Francis has recently complained, "There are Christians whose lives seem like Lent without Easter."

When Mary Magdalene encountered the empty tomb, she ran to tell the others the news. Today's Christians must imitate Mary's posture. We too must make haste to share the impossibly good news that God has raised Jesus Christ from the dead, and that through his great love, our lives and our society can be given a new horizon and a decisive direction.

The growing temptation to make Christianity a bourgeois faith that is reduced to mere ethics and platitudes must be rejected. That isn't a faith that will change our lives or have any effect on society. It's a faith without a future.

This Easter invites Christians to again to re-center our faith on the person of Jesus and his resurrection from the dead. We mustn't forget the story of our people: that God pitched a tent among us and shared our human lot in Jesus Christ. To the poor, Jesus proclaimed the good news of salvation, to prisoners, freedom and to those in sorrow, joy. In his death, our death was destroyed, and in his resurrection, our lives were restored. And that we might live no longer for ourselves, he gave us a Holy Spirit to serve others and to renew the face the earth. In spite of our continual failings as individuals and as a society, God has never grown tired of loving us.

This Easter story isn't simply for us, but also for the transformation of our families, our communities, our Church, our country and the entire world. The resurrection of Jesus Christ from the dead gives us a chance to reimagine and reconstruct human life and society once again.

It allows us to become collaborators in God's great dreams for a world where everyone is welcomed, loved and forgiven and where every man, woman and child experiences the salvation that Christ won for us in his death and resurrection.

Jesus Christ is risen from the dead! This is our faith, and this is the faith of the Church. Two millennia later, and it is still good news indeed."

TIME April 19, 2014

The Great Adi Shakti Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
"Of course there are some absurd things which grew with misinterpretation and interference from unholy people, which are common in these religions. For example, Jews, Christian and Muslims believe that when they die their bodies will come out of their graves and they will all be resurrected at the Time of Resurrection, at the Time of Last Judgment, at the Time of Qiyamah. It is illogical to think what will remain inside those graves after five hundred years. Nobody wants to think and understand that it is not the body but the soul that will come out of these bodies, be born again as human beings and be saved through Qiyamah and Resurrection.

Who will tell them? No one can talk to them. As soon as one wants to talk one can be killed. This is the only way they know - how to kill."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi

"But these are special time, the Blossom Time. They call it the Last Judgment, you can call it the Resurrection Time, you can call it the Qiyamah, they call it in Koran. It is said that people will come out of their graves and will get their Resurrection. I mean what is left to the graves is nothing but a few stones and a few bones. No. All these souls which are dead will take their birth, take human body and take their Realization in these special times. This is a sensible thing to say and is also happening."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi

The Great Adi Shakti Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
Shri Mataji Nirmala Devi
"We are now in the Blossom Time, as I call it, because many flowers are born and they are to become the fruits. This is the Resurrection Time, which is described in all the scriptures. But it's not like this, the way they had described us. Something wrong with them that all the dead bodies who are in the graves will come out of the graves. I mean, how much is left out of them, God knows. Must be some bones or maybe some skulls there. So they'll come out of the graves and they will get their Resurrection!!!? This is a very wrong idea.

Once I happened to meet a fellow, a Muslim from Bosnia and he told Me, 'I want to die for my religion, for God's sake.' I said, 'But why? Who told you to die?' He said, 'Now, if I die in the name of God, I'll be resurrected.' I said, 'It's all wrong. That's not the way it is going to work out. Resurrection is going to work out this way that at this time, all these souls will take their birth. All these souls will take their birth and they will be resurrected. As human beings they'll have to come.'

That's why we find all kinds of funny people these days, all kinds of cruel, criminal, all kinds of idiotic, stupid, I mean very queer, weird, funny ideas which find such, such a variety of people and such a tremendous population that we should understand they have to have their chance of Resurrection. But how many will come? That's the point. How many are going to come?"

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
Philadelphia, USA — October 15, 1993

"There are lots of myths in the Bible and one of them is that at the Time of Resurrection your bodies will come out of the graves. This is not only for Christians, but also for the Muslims and Jews. Think of this - What remains in the grave after many years? Only a few bones. And if these bones came out how can you give them Realization? Think of it. It is a big myth. Not possible logically."

The Messiah-Paraclete-Ruh-Devi
India - December 25, 1993

"It is very hard to believe that we can become the Spirit. This is one of the big myths of Modern Times and many a times when I speak about becoming the Spirit people say that, 'How can you say like that?' How can it be that easy?"

But it is a living process of our evolution and if it is done by the Power of a living God, then it has to be very simple, has to be very easy ...

Today that Time has come. That Time has come. The Time of Judgment has come and at this Time we have to see that we'll be judging ourselves; but not by some sort of an authority, but by something which is within us which we call as the Kundalini, is placed in the triangular bone called as sacrum. Just see, Greeks knew about it. That's why they call the bone as sacrum. But what is this bone in the biblical understanding? It is the reflection of the Holy Ghost."

The Paraclete Shri Mataji

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