Monday, March 5, 2018

090. satan, the great orator: Part II - Who's Voice Are We Listening To?

The following is part of an early conversation had between the only two human characters, both male, in Perelandra, the 2nd book of CS Lewis' Space Trilogy (1943): Elwin Ransom and Weston. Ransom agreed to be taken from Earth to the planet Perelandra by heavenly beings, the "Powers of Heaven," who had a mission for him to fulfill. He arrives alone and naked, and feels a clarity and peace of conscience as he has never before experienced. After exploring Perelandra for some time, experiencing its climate, and interacting with its animal life and vegetation, he encounters a naked woman who is in harmony with all nature, referred to throughout the book as "the Green Lady". Weston enters the scene soon after, having crash-landed his spacecraft on the planet. Ransom, a professor of linguistics, knew Weston, a physicist, from Earth, and of his evil intentions, as evidenced by what happened to them in another world, Malacandra. And so it went...
“That, if you will permit me to say so, is one of the real weaknesses of organised religion — that adherence to formulae, that failure to recognise one’s own friends. God is a spirit. Ransom. Get hold of that. You’re familiar with that already. Stick to it. God is a spirit.” [said Weston]
“Well, of course. But what then?” [said Ransom]
“What then? Why, spirit-mind-freedom-spontaneity — that’s what I’m talking about. That is the goal towards which the whole cosmic process is moving. The final disengagement of that freedom, that spirituality, is the work — to which I dedicate my own life and the life of humanity. The goal. Ransom, the goal: think of it! Pure spirit: the final vortex of self-thinking, self-originating activity.”...
“By the way,” said Ransom, “is it in any sense at all personal — is it alive?”...
“Yes,” said Weston, “I couldn’t have believed, myself, till recently. Not a person, of course. Anthropomorphism is one of the childish diseases of popular religion, but the opposite extreme of excessive abstraction has perhaps in the aggregate proved more disastrous. Call it a Force. A great, inscrutable Force, pouring up into us from the dark bases of being. A Force that can choose its instruments. It is only lately, Ransom, that I’ve learned from actual experience something which you have believed all your life as part of your religion.” Here he suddenly subsided again into a whisper—a croaking whisper unlike his usual voice. “Guided,” he said. “Chosen. Guided. I’ve become conscious that I’m a man set apart. Why did I do physics? Why did I discover the Weston rays? Why did I go to Malacandra? It-the Force-has pushed me on all the time. I’m being guided. I know now that I am the greatest scientist the world has yet produced. I’ve been made so for a purpose. It is through me that Spirit itself is at this moment pushing on to its goal.”
“Look here,” said Ransom, “one wants to be careful about this sort of thing. There are spirits and spirits, you know.”
“Eh?” said Weston. “What are you talking about?”
“I mean a thing might be a spirit and not good for you.”
“But I thought you agreed that Spirit was the good — the end of the whole process? I thought you religious people were all out for spirituality? What is the point of asceticism — fasts and celibacy and all that? Didn’t we agree that God is a spirit? Don’t you worship Him because He is pure spirit?”
“Good heavens, no! We worship Him because He is wise and good. There’s nothing specially fine about simply being a spirit. The Devil is a spirit.”...“What proof,” said Ransom, “what proof have you that you are being guided or supported by anything except your own individual mind and other people’s books?”
“You didn’t notice, dear Ransom,” said Weston, “that I’d improved a bit since we last met in my knowledge of extraterrestrial language. You are a philologist, they tell me.” 
Ransom started. “How did you do it?” he blurted out.
“Guidance, you know, guidance,” croaked Weston. He was squatting at the roots of his tree with his knees drawn up, and his face, now the colour of putty, wore a fixed and even slightly twisted grin. “Guidance. Guidance,” he went on. “Things coming into my head. I’m being prepared all the time. Being made a fit receptacle for it.”
“That ought to be fairly easy,” said Ransom impatiently. “If this Life Force is something so ambiguous that God and the Devil are equally good portraits of it, I suppose any receptacle is equally fit, and anything you can do is equally an expression of it.”
“There’s such a thing as the main current,” said Weston. “It’s a question of surrendering yourself to that — making yourself the conductor of the live, fiery, central purpose — becoming the very finger with which it reaches forward.”...
“How far does it go? Would you still obey the Life-Force if you found it prompting you to murder me?” asked Ransom
“Or to sell England to the Germans?”
“Or to print lies as serious research in a scientific periodical?”
“God help you.” said Ransom.
As the story develops, we see how far Weston's possession by the dark side has gone. We will return to this story in subsequent posts as it serves to illustrate how satan is indeed the great orator who seeks to blind and deceive those who listen to his lies. Perhaps the foregoing is somewhat of an extreme example of how far things can go when one seeks to follow a voice that may not be God's. But, this happens all the time in our world. How many wars, feuds, disputes, contentions, jarrings, strifes, and disrupted and ended lives have come to pass because of someone claiming revelation over, or for, or contrary to another?

In any case, it is clear that there are many spirits that find place on this earth who are not on the "right side" of things. In fact, as lost and cast out spirits, they are on the wrong side, seeking control over the minds and hearts of the living because they have no body of their own to animate. Weston is right, spirit communication is real, and if we open ourselves up to whatever voice may come, we might find ourselves entertaining and possibly following all sorts of misleading voices that are not God's. Those on the wrong side have likely had thousands of years to perfect the subtlety, seductiveness, and verisimilitude of their voices and messages so that they imitate the real deal. Receiving true communication from God takes discernment, careful study, and a "firm mind in every form of Godliness". The scriptures lay out how the word, voice, and Spirit of God are obtained:
"...and they had waxed strong in the knowledge of the truth; for they were men of a sound understanding and they had searched the scriptures diligently, that they might know the word of God." Alma 17:2
"Behold, you have not understood; you have supposed that I would give it unto you, when you took no thought save it was to ask meBut, behold, I say unto you, that you must study it out in your mind; then you must ask me if it be right, and if it is right I will cause that your bosom shall burn within you; therefore, you shall feel that it is right. But if it be not right you shall have no such feelings, but you shall have a stupor of thought that shall cause you to forget the thing which is wrong;" Doctrine & Covenants 9:7-9 
"Seek not to declare my word, but first seek to obtain my word, and then shall your tongue be loosed; then, if you desire, you shall have my Spirit and my word, yea, the power of God unto the convincing of men." Doctrine & Covenants 11:21 
"...And how do ye suppose that I know of their surety? Behold, I say unto you they are made known unto me by the Holy Spirit of God. Behold, I have fasted and prayed many days that I might know these things of myself. And now I do know of myself that they are true; for the Lord God hath made them manifest unto me by his Holy Spirit; and this is the spirit of revelation which is in me." Alma 5: 45-46
"...they did fast and pray oft, and did wax stronger and stronger in their humility, and firmer and firmer in the faith of Christ, unto the filling their souls with joy and consolation, yea, even to the purifying and the sanctification of their hearts, which sanctification cometh because of their yielding their hearts unto God." Helaman 3:35
"...and they fasted much and prayed much that the Lord would grant unto them a portion of his Spirit to go with them, and abide with them, that they might be an instrument in the hands of God..." Alma 17:9
"Pray always, and I will pour out my Spirit upon you, and great shall be your blessing..." Doctrine & Covenants 19:38
"And thus we see that the Lord began to pour out his Spirit upon the Lamanites, because of their easiness and willingness to believe in his words." Helaman 6:36
"And behold, even at this time, ye have been calling on his name, and begging for a remission of your sins. And has he suffered that ye have begged in vain? Nay; he has poured out his Spirit upon you, and has caused that your hearts should be filled with joy, and has caused that your mouths should be stopped that ye could not find utterance, so exceedingly great was your joy." Mosiah 4:20
"These were more noble than those in Thessalonica, in that they received the word with all readiness of mind, and searched the scriptures daily, whether those things were so." Acts 17:11
"Search the scriptures; for in them ye think ye have eternal life: and they are they which testify of me." John 5:39
So, from these verses, what are the keys to obtaining knowledge or revelation from God and hearing His voice?
  • Study questions and ideas out in your mind.
  • Study/search the scriptures diligently and daily.
  • Pray always (ask/seek/call upon name of the Lord).
  • Beg for a remission of your sins.
  • Fast often.
Then it is promised that His Spirit will be poured out upon us, that He will bless us with knowledge of the truth pertaining to our salvation, that we will receive His word (it will be a part of us), and then loosen our tongues so we can speak His word to others to help orient them also to Christ. Then, as He continues to abide with us, we can truly become one in mind and purpose with Him. It is not always easy, and we are often desperate for a quick and easy answer to our problems and dilemmas. Yet, there are likely scores of spirits out there just waiting to give us their opinion of things. Why not use these problems and dilemmas as an opportunity to deepen our relationship with God and truly come to hear and know His real voice?

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