Urtext Passages Suggesting God Created the World

by Robert Perry

By my count, there are five passages in the Urtext (the original typescript of the Course) in which the Course talks about the world in a seemingly different sense than the later Course. It talks about the world as created by God. Four of these five passages have been edited for the standard Course so as to be more in line with the later Course teaching, which clearly teaches that God did not create the world.

What do we make of this discrepancy? There are three alternatives that I see:

1. These early passages are right and the later Course is either wrong or must be reinterpreted in light of these early passages. This is based on the idea that here we have Jesus' first, most plainspoken assertions about the nature of the world. We therefore should give them primacy and either discount the later comments or read them in light of the first comments.

2. These early passages are in error, or contain elements of error, and the later Course is right. This is based on the notion that Jesus himself told Helen (twice) that her hearing was improving, and that she was able to hear more accurately and to receive a higher level of thought. These early passages about God creating the world come before those comments. Those passages, therefore, should be considered suspect. Because of their appearance early in the Course and their small number (5), they should be considered "junior," while the later and far more numerous references to God not creating the world should be considered "senior." There is also good reason to think that Helen may have been influenced by the Edgar Cayce readings, which she was reading at the time and which espouse an extremely similar philosophy to those expressed in these five passages (in Heaven, there was a "warring in spirit," causing the Sons of God to fall into a state of separation without realizing it; the Creative Forces responded by creating the physical universe, as a place where the Sons of God could see their thoughts reflected in concrete form, and so realize they had separated and strive to get out of this condition).

3. The early passages and the later Course are somehow in harmony. They are saying the same thing, even though they don't seem to be.

Let's look closely at those five passages, along with their current form in the standard Course:

URTEXT VERSION

PUBLISHED COURSE

COMPARISON/CONTRAST

Each day should be devoted to miracles.

(God created time so that man could

use it creatively,

and convince himself of his own ability to create.

Time is a teaching device,

and a means to an end.

It will cease when it is no longer useful for facilitating learning.)

Each day should be devoted to miracles.

The purpose of time is to enable you to learn how to

use time constructively.

It is thus a teaching device

and a means to an end.

Time will cease when it is no longer useful in facilitating learning. (T-1.I. 15:1-4)

Urtext: God created time so that man could use it creatively, as a teaching device to facilitate learning.

Published Course: time should be used constructively, as a teaching device to facilitate learning.

Ultimately, of course, space is

as meaningless as time.

The concept is really one of space-time BELIEF.

The physical world exists only because man can use it to correct his UNBELIEF,

which placed him in it originally.

As long as man KNEW he did not need anything, the whole device was unnecessary.

Ultimately, space is

as meaningless as time.

Both are merely beliefs.

The real purpose of this world is to use it to correct your unbelief. (T-1.VI. 3:5-4:1)

Urtext: The realm of space-time is meaningless because it is merely belief. The whole reason space-time exists is so man can use it to correct his unbelief. This unbelief placed him in it by making it necessary as a corrective device.

Published Course: The realm of space-time is meaningless because it is merely belief. The realm of space-time should be used to correct unbelief.

The Atonement was built into the space-time belief in order to set a limit on the need for the belief, and ultimately to make learning complete.

The Atonement IS the final lesson.

Learning, itself, like the classrooms in which it occurs, is temporary.

The Atonement was built into the space-time belief to set a limit on the need for the belief itself, and ultimately to make learning complete.

The Atonement is the final lesson.

Learning itself, like the classrooms in which it occurs, is temporary. (T-2.II. 5:1-3)

No change.

Both: The Atonement was actually built into "the space-time belief" so that through learning we would ultimately undo the space-time belief.

The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.

In fact, both TIME and MATTER were created for this purpose.

This appears to contradict free will,

because of the inevitability of this decision.

If you review the idea carefully, you will realize that

this is not true.

The acceptance of the Atonement by everyone is only a matter of time.

This may appear to contradict free will because of the inevitability of the final decision,

but this is not so. (T-2.III. 3:1-2)

Urtext: Time and matter were created so that everyone would eventually accept the Atonement.

Published Course: Everyone will ultimately accept the Atonement.

God IS lonely without His Souls,

and THEY are lonely without Him.

Remember the "spiritual" (a very good term) which begins with "And God stepped down from Heaven and said: I'M lonely—I'll make ME a World."

The world WAS a way of healing the Separation, and

the Atonement is the GUARANTEE that the device will ultimately do so.

God is lonely without His Sons,

and they are lonely without Him.

They must learn to look upon the world as a means of healing the separation.

The Atonement is the guarantee that they will ultimately succeed. (T-2.III. 5:11-13)

Urtext: Because God was lonely without His sons, He made a world, which was a device for healing the separation. The Atonement was placed within this device, to guarantee it would work.

Published Course: God is lonely without His Sons. They should see the world as a means of healing the separation. The Atonement is the guarantee they will succeed in healing the separation.

Discussion

If we assemble all these Urtext passages together, we get something like this:

In Heaven, the separation happened; we somehow fell into a sense of separation from God. This made God lonely; He wanted us back at one with Him. So He created/made (I say "created/made" because the special use of the word "create" has not come into play yet at this point in the Course dictation) the world of time, space, and matter as a teaching device that would facilitate our learning. This learning would ultimately heal the separation and return us to God. God placed in time/space/matter the Atonement, which seems to be the active ingredient in the teaching device (of the world). The Atonement, in fact, is the lesson itself—it is what we are meant to learn while in this world. When we learn it fully, the device is no longer needed and the world ends.

The world, though created/made by God, is not real. It is "meaningless." It is merely a belief of our own—a "space-time belief"—that will ultimately be undone, when our learning is complete. This leaves a question that is not resolved in this material: If God made the world and if the world is merely a space-time belief, does that mean that God made this space-time belief? This seems inescapable. We can lay it out in a syllogism:

God made the world.

The world is a space-time belief.

God made the space-time belief.

How do we make sense of this?

I would speculate the following: We started out (according to this Urtext material) with a simple belief in separation—no belief in time and space as yet. God (or the Holy Spirit) then went into this separation belief and shaped and molded it, making it more specific. He shaped it into a space-time belief—space being a fleshed-out version of the idea of separation, time being a fleshed-out version of the idea of change (and change being inherent in the idea of separation, since it was a change from the unified state). The universe we see is simply the outer picture of this space-time belief.

This universe, though, by itself, it seems, wouldn't have led us to the end of the separation. Another factor was needed: He then built the Atonement into this space-time belief. Because the Atonement is built into the space-time belief, and the space-time belief is the real substance of the universe, the Atonement is somehow literally built into the universe. It therefore is always operating. "It works all the time and in all the dimensions of time" (T-1.I.25:2). As it works, it teaches us its lesson, which is itself. And as we learn the lesson of the Atonement, the need for the teaching device (the world) is gone, and the Atonement, along with the space-time belief, disappears. We are back home, and Heaven is all there is.

Now that I explore this, I don't find it all that different from what the rest of the Course says—if my speculation above is correct. Both this material and the later Course speak of the world as

  • somehow resulting from the separation
  • a learning device so that we can return to Heaven
  • a learning device that the Divine can use
  • a meaningless illusion
  • just a belief
  • destined to end when learning is complete

Where they diverge is when it comes to the immediate source of the world.

URTEXT (early chapters)

PUBLISHED COURSE (later chapters)

The world is directly the manifestation of God, as a learning device to get out of the separation.

The world is directly the manifestation of the separation. The Holy Spirit uses it as a learning device.

What if these two things are not actually so different? Maybe they are not different at all. Here is a possible version that encompasses both:

In Heaven, we fell into the belief in separation. The physical universe manifested from this belief once the Holy Spirit had shaped this belief into "the space-time belief"—a more specific, fleshed-out version of the separation belief. He then built into the space-time belief the Atonement. As a result, the Atonement is operating all the time in the space-time world. This operation of the Atonement is what actually teaches us. This is what guides us home. The events of the physical world without the Atonement would not be conducive to learning, but would merely reinforce the belief in separation.

So which of the three options I listed at the outset am I opting for? I think my position is a combination of #2 and #3. Upon close inspection, I now think that these Urtext passages are not as different from the later teaching of the Course. Seen in the way I'm suggesting, they are completely consistent (this is option #3). However, I think as Helen's hearing improved, and the thought that was able to come through her ascended, she was able to hear this view in a form that more fully captured its real essence (shades of option #2). For to say, as the early passages do, that God created the world can easily imply that we are bound by the world. And the whole message of the Course is that we are not. That is the basis of forgiveness; that is why we can overlook the world's attacks. Therefore, I think the later way of expressing the message reflects its real essence more fully, but the early way is still accurate, if properly understood.

So, what is the relationship between God and the making of the world? I don't know the details, but I suspect that the big picture is something like this: In Heaven, we fell into the belief in separation. This belief started out very general and unformed, but being a belief in specificity (separation = specificity), it naturally became more specific. And as it did, the Holy Spirit had a hand in shaping its specific form. He shaped this belief into "the space-time belief," an ideal classroom in which we could ultimately learn to get out of the separation. Thus was born the world of time and space, which is simply the outpicturing of our space-time belief. This world is a very dark place, full of suffering, but that is not because of the Holy Spirit. Rather, it is because the dream is ultimately a manifestation of our belief in separation, and that belief is one of darkness and death. The Holy Spirit, however, was able to inject a spark of light into this dark dream; He was able build the Atonement into our space-time belief. The Atonement operates constantly to teach us its lesson of release from space and time. In every situation it places a doorway out of the pain, even though this doorway is often invisible to us. Thus, the substance of the world is largely composed of our dark belief in separation. But within that substance there is a spark of light—the Atonement. And both sides, the darkness and the light, are manifest in the events of this world. The darkness is constantly trying to reinforce and confirm our belief in separation, while the light is trying to lead us out of that belief.

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