Rosicrucian Writings Online
[From The Rosicrucian Digest April 1938]
MAN'S INVENTION OF GODIT HAS been truly said by many ancient philosophers that if the God of the Universe had not revealed Himself through many miracles and many inspirations in the consciousness of man, and if God had not sent to earth various messengers at various times to explain His omnipotence and omnipresence and great works, man would have naturally invented a God that would have been much like the God that Holy Scriptures reveal to us.
From the earliest days of civilization we find phases of man's determined and persistent and logical attempts to discover and learn something about a God that he felt sure created the universe and still ruled it. The most primitive type of man in ancient times and in the modern times who has never heard or read anything of Holy Scripture, nor been taught any religious principles, has always felt that there was some ruler, some mind, some consciousness, guiding and directing everything in this universe, who was greater than himself.
Psychologically, we might say that there has always been a tendency on the part of man to worship some great hero, known or unknown, seen or unseen. We know that children at a very early age have a tendency to select either a father, mother, or older sister or brother as their hero, and they try to emulate that person and imitate his ways of talking, acting, thinking and so forth. According to the education of the child does he adopt a character or personality or type of individual as his hero. There are children in the slum districts of every large country who see much quarrelling and fighting, and have to witness and take part in many street brawls and constantly be on the defensive, who gradually select some eminent prizefighter or war hero or strong-arm individual as their hero. They love to read about him, talk about him, see pictures of him and try to imitate his mannerisms and his personality. Little girls are given to worshipping their mothers as great ladies and try to imitate their ways in many things. This is so fundamentally true that it places a grave responsibility upon parents and makes it necessary for parents to be very careful of their conduct and language, and of their principles in their home life and social life, especially any conduct or language that can be observed or heard by their children. If their children once become convinced that their parents are just common persons whose feet are of earthly clay and whose characters are vacillating and unreliable or sordid and mean, they turn their hero worship toward others outside of the family, and sometimes they select persons who are outwardly brave and formidable or attractive, but who nevertheless have habits that are mean and sordid, unclean and unworthy.
But primitive man as well as modern man always sought to find some standard, some form of consciousness or intelligence, greater, better and larger, more pure, more clean, and more noble than himself, and has tried to emulate that invisible or visible character. Man was first impressed with the fact that he did not make himself, nor did other human beings like himself create him, and that other human beings like himself did not have the power to create man and woman or to create the universe or maintain and control it. The regular and systematic way in which the seasons come and go, and the way in which the planets move through their courses, and the intelligent manner in which seeds planted in the ground respond to some unknown law, yet obey that law and become fruitful, convinced early man as it convinces many men today, that the universe was created and is directed, controlled and intelligently operated by a superior consciousness, a superior mind. This conviction, and the inborn tendency to worship, emulate or idolize something that is greater than himself, and to which he can turn for protection or help, for strength, for power, has always led the primitive type of mind to invent an imaginary God and to try and hold that God in reverence and deep respect.
It was because of this that primitive man--and many illiterate and uneducated men of foreign lands today--created stone and metal statues that represented their mental idols and which gave some concrete or definite form to the vague ideas they had regarding an unknown and invisible God. That this should have led gradually to idol worship and to reverence definitely expressed to these statues, or replicas of a mysterious character, is logical and reasonable. In fact, we would be surprised today if history did not reveal and show to us that primitive man had created such idols and worshipped them. And we would be surprised today if we went into primitive nations in the South Sea Islands and in parts of Africa and Asia if we did not find them still designing and constructing in stone, metal or wood, grotesque figures, startling figures, surprising figures that represented in some way the mysterious and unhuman qualities of their created God. And so we can understand why in foreign lands today and in parts of Europe, for instance, we see great Cathedrals or places of worship of modern construction which still decorate their chapels and roofs and porticoes with statues of ancient saints or with representative characters of holy power, in order that the worshippers may have something tangible, something definite, to which they can pin their faith.
It is only when we find modern minds still believing that these stone, wood, or metal statues have a potency or have a power resident within them or connected with them that we realize that with all of our advancement of civilization we have not progressed very far beyond the period of idol worship.
And it is surprising to think that despite all that the divine messengers of God have revealed to us in sacred writings, and despite what Jesus taught as a special messenger of God, millions still believe that the only place to commune with or pray to God is within the naves and alcoves of a huge material structure set apart from other buildings as a special place for divine worship. We can understand why the Jews in their ancient religious rites believed, and still believe, that in a certain place within their synagogues or within the Holy of Holies there was resident at times the presence of God. But even these Jews did not believe, nor do the orthodox Jews of today believe, that God is never resident in any other place but in that Holy of Holies. Yet there are Jews and Christians, Mohammedans, Buddhists and others, who still believe in these modern times that the only place God can be worshipped or thanked or praised or appealed to is in a definite and consecrated edifice at certain hours of the day or on certain days of the week.
The mystic knows that it is true that God resides within us and that the Kingdom of Heaven is as much within each of us as it is in any spiritual plane or place beyond this earth. And the mystic knows that he can stop in his daily tasks at home or in business, at any hour of the day or night, and lift his thoughts and consciousness to a higher mental and spiritual plane and contact God instantly through inner communion and outer expression and enjoy all the privileges of prayer and worship no matter where he may be, how he may be dressed, or what the occasion may be.
It is because of this belief that thousands of mystics and students of mysticism in America today are enjoying the privileges of the Cathedral of the Soul, and if you do not know what this means, or have not learned of this great and important spiritual privilege, write today for our free booklet, Liber 777, and join the multitudes who are deriving great good from such non-sectarian, non-creedal worship and communion.
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So to conduct one's life as to realize oneself--this seems to me the highest attainment possible to a human being. It is the task of one and all of us, but most of us bungle it.--Ibsen.
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