12 Feb 2001
Dear Simon (name changed for anonymity),
I am very glad that my pages have provoked you into challenging my statements. As you say, these particular statements, that God can lie to us, not only might send away a Novice, convinced that the Path must be entirely wrong, they have in fact done so.
But it is also a fact that others have been able to come to terms with these statements and profit from them, again and again.
But first, the examples I give from the Bible. God says to Abraham, I wish you to sacrifice your son. This was untrue. God did not wish it. In order to test Abraham’s obedience God used an untruth, a lie. No ‘explanations’ of God’s ‘real meaning’ can alter this fact. God lied, for an excellent reason. You say “a lie, an untruth is always wrong”. By wrong you must surely mean that it serves evil?
God told Jonah that he would destroy Nineveh?. But God did not. What God told Jonah was untrue. Are you saying “because God did not know what was going to happen”? God was testing Jonah’s obedience and also his sense of compassion. To do this God told Jonah something that was untrue. He was not going to destroy Nineveh.
It is clear from the Gospel of St. John, chapter 17, that Jesus believed that he and God were one, that God would be with him always. But on the cross Jesus cried out that God had abandoned him. Very clearly these two statements are incompatible. God was not with Jesus ‘always’. God had deceived Jesus. Just as Jesus, ‘The Son of God’ and a Person of the Trinity, deceived his disciples in telling them that “This generation shall not pass away before I return”.
None of these instances may be historically true. What matters here is that those who believe in the Bible as the inspired word of God accept them as true. Yet see no wrongdoing in them (nor should they) nor the obvious fact that in accepting them as true they are accepting that God tells untruths – in plain language, lies.
Now, is a lie, an untruth, always wrong? Always in the service of evil? You are visiting a dear friend in hospital who you know, from her doctor, is dying and will die in great pain. You also know she is terrified both of pain and death. Her doctor urges you to lie to her, to spare her great anguish. Please don’t tell her the truth, Simon. Allow her these last few days of hope.
What would you do? What does your conscience tell you to do? When she asks you with urgent pleading, “Tell me the truth Simon. Am I dying? Am I going to suffer horribly?”
I’m not going to go on about this. The object of the Path and all the teachings connected with it is not to be popular, and indulge peoples preconceived certainties, but to tell them the real Truth, not the human ‘truths’ and ‘untruths’ that are involved in this discussion.
What follows are my questions to Her and Her answers, which I urge you to check with Her.
Beloved, are the contents of this letter, up to this point, as you wish them to be?
Do you who say this love The Truth?
Do you, in order to teach us lessons and give us a deeper understanding, use what we call untruths, lies, temptations to believe what is false?
Yes. Again and again. It is my principle method of teaching Novices, in order to oblige them to use all the faculties of reason and conscience I have given them.
Again, do you who say this love The Truth?
Simon will see a paradox in this use of the word Truth to ask you do you use untruths!?
Simon needs to understand the meaning of Truth. That is why I prompted him to enter into this discussion. Truth is whatever leads a penitent to Me, and to a deeper understanding of goodness.
What is really false, untrue, a lie, a real lie, is any statement or belief that hinders a soul on its journey to Me. A number of theological beliefs and convictions about Me are untrue in this vital sense. One of them is Simon’s conviction that “God cannot lie”. He is applying human terminology and ideas to God. If he holds to this conviction he will be unable to accept My teachings, intended to lead him to the reality of Truth. This would place a barrier on his way to Me and cause him unnecessary spiritual difficulties before at long last he comes to Me.
There are a number of words in every human language that cause confusion, unless the hearer or user allows Me to disentangle the confusion. Two obvious ones are life and death. “A man must lose his life in order to find it.” This statement appears to be absolutely contradictory. But of course Simon knows it is not. Imagine, however, the amazement it caused when it was first made.
Simon must decide what he can and cannot accept and believe, but there can be no compromise without the real Truth in order to please him and retain his interest.
Life means two very different things.
So does Death.
And so does Truth.
If I can help you in any further way to gain deeper understanding, I will be delighted to try. But remember the Gospel of St John again, chapter 6 I think. “These are hard sayings. Who can accept them?” And some left him and went away.
All my best wishes,