|I will take the
liberty of putting my own construction on Jesus' ideas (or truth)
and leave it all to the common sense of the people to decide
which is the most consistent with science (or truth).
~ Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Phineas Parkhurst Quimby
Controversy About the DeadMay 1860
The religious world has always been in a controversy in regard to the dead. Before Jesus taught a resurrection from the dead, the Pharisees believed that the dead rose at the end of the world. Others believed that spirits came back and entered the living. But there was no idea that was satisfactory to the thinking classes. The Sadducees disbelieved in everything but admitted one living God. This was the state of man's belief at the time Jesus appeared before the people. He spoke as never man spake, for he spoke the truth, and his truth gave the lie to all of the opinions of mankind.
I will take the liberty of putting my own construction on Jesus' ideas (or truth), and leave it all to the common sense of the people to decide which is the most consistent with science (or truth). You will see that, at the time Jesus spoke, the idea of an identity of our existence after death was never taught; and to teach such an absurdity as that to the Jews was blasphemy. Therefore, Jesus had to admit the same ideas as the Jews, or they would crucify him at the commencement of his reform. So he admitted all their beliefs - but put a spiritual meaning to them all.
Jesus never spoke to the people but in parables, for his object was to reform the world of their superstition. Their belief was got up by man; their priesthood and all their ordinances were of this world (or of man). Now Jesus opposed all of it - from the beginning to the end. Therefore, he spoke in parables, so they could put such construction upon them as they pleased and thus be shown the absurdity of their belief. So his sermons and talk were called out in answer to some questions asked him by the rulers of the people, and his answer was in accordance with the questions put. But in it was shown the absurdity of their belief, so they could not catch him.
The greatest evil to overcome was the resurrection of the dead. This was a very difficult question to solve, for Jesus never believed in the natural body rising, and to deny the resurrection of man was just as absurd as to deny the resurrection of the body. So to deny one and prove the other was not an easy task. It would upset all of the people's beliefs. So he had to admit a resurrection and teach it. And as the people called sin “death” and truth “life,” it was very easy for Jesus to adapt these meanings to his teachings. He could then show that the resurrection from the dead was a resurrection from an error to a truth - but this must be explained by a parable.
Now this was what Jesus intended to convey to the people; that this power that they could not account for - and which they ascribed to evil spirits of the dead - was a science of ourselves; and although we are ignorant of it, yet it is ourselves and embraces all we are and all our senses. It is life itself - and a knowledge of it is to put it into practice, so the world can be benefited. The ignorance of it embraces all of the phenomena, but in ignorance of their causes. This makes man superstitious, for he is ignorant of himself and believes that this belief is all there is of him; and so it is, till he is brought into a higher state of mind that can see that man has two minds (or knowledge). One embraces matter and is in it; the other is the science and is out of matter, but uses matter as a medium to convince the natural man of a higher knowledge of himself.
It was Jesus' mission to convince the natural man of this truth. So when he spoke of “Jesus,” he spoke of the earthly man, but when he spoke of “Christ,” he spoke of the heavenly man (or science). This, the people could not understand, so when he said that he should rise from the earthly man, Jesus - he spoke of this Christ (or knowledge). The people had no idea of what he meant to convey to them, and when they saw him taken and tried, they all forsook him and stood afar off. Some denied him. This showed that they expected that Jesus would be crucified.
This embraced Jesus Christ and all of his preaching, and when he was crucified, that ended the life of Jesus Christ, to them. Now to rise from the dead was what he had promised his followers, and they believed that Jesus intended to prove that his body (or Jesus), which was flesh and blood, should rise. Here was where they misunderstood him. Jesus never intended to convey any such idea.
Now if the people had understood what Jesus meant, they would have put a different construction on all the scene. If they had known the facts, they would never have troubled themselves about the man, Jesus - but would have let that body remain in the tomb. And when Jesus showed himself to his disciples and others - then they could have seen the flesh and blood in the tomb. Then he - that is, Christ - had established the saying, “Although you destroy this flesh and blood, you don't destroy the knowledge of it; and this same knowledge can make to itself another body, and show it to the people, to convince them of eternal existence - not after death, but a progression of our knowledge.”
Now I want to be as liberal as I can to the friends of Jesus, but I must say that, in their zeal to establish what Jesus told, they made a great mistake - or at least some of them; for I believe that they did steal (or take away) the body of Jesus, to establish their belief that it rose again. Now this just upset all that Jesus intended to prove; that is, that although they destroyed the flesh and blood, “I” - that is, Christ - “will show myself to you to prove that man can live and have all his faculties and knowledge, after the world calls him dead.”
Now as it stands, it shows nothing, for no one expects the body to rise. In their zeal to carry out an idea - like all religious fanatics - they left the whole affair in a worse state than before. This gave rise to all kinds of controversy, and as Christ had made himself manifest to the people, they of course believed that his body rose; so it was not long till the believers were fighting - just as they are in our days.
Paul said to them, "I understand there is a dissension among you, as touching the resurrection of the dead." Now he says, "If Christ be preached - not Jesus, but this truth (or science) - that he rose from the dead (or from Jesus), how say some among you there is no such science (or resurrection), and all is of no force?"
You see, the people confounded the two ideas together; that is, the people called “Jesus Christ” one - and when he rose, he was one, because they had no idea of two identities. Those that differed from them had to contend against this deception of those fanatics that stole the body of Jesus; for those who believed the body rose were more enthusiastic than those who believed in the science.
You will see how all those persons who can work themselves up to believe that the time is coming when our bodies will rise again are just about as far behind the times as those old persons who believe the time will come when the factories will be abolished, and the girls will return to the spinning wheel and loom, and railroads and steam will be done away with. If they get any comfort out of that kind of food - I, for one, will not disturb their repose.
I have commenced climbing Jacob's ladder, and I have never heard of the top round. It is said to reach to heaven, so that the angels could descend on it. The Christian ladder has from one to seventy or eighty rounds - so when man climbs half his life, he takes the other half to get back where he started. That makes him once a man and twice a child. So I suppose he commences a child and climbs to a man, and then steps over and returns to a child. This is proof that man is a mere bubble. This is all that is held out to man as proof.
It is true that we are told that we shall rise again - or at least the soul. When we ask for proof, we are referred to Christ; but when told that there was no proof that any other flesh and blood rose - then comes mystery; and we are called infidel, because we don't believe what they don't prove, nor themselves believe.