ACIM Text Reading for August 3
Chapter 25 ~ The Justice of God
IV. Perception and Choice
To the extent to which you value guilt, to that extent will you perceive a world in which attack is justified. To the extent to which you recognize that guilt is meaningless, to that extent you will perceive attack cannot be justified. This is in accord with perception’s fundamental law: You see what you believe is there, and you believe it there because you want it there. Perception has no other law than this. The rest but stems from this, to hold it up and offer it support. This is perception’s form, adapted to this world, of God’s more basic law; that love creates itself, and nothing but itself.
God’s laws do not obtain directly to a world perception rules, for such a world could not have been created by the Mind to which perception has no meaning. Yet are His laws reflected everywhere. Not that the world where this reflection is, is real at all. Only because His Son believes it is, and from His Son’s belief He could not let Himself be separate entirely. He could not enter His Son’s insanity with him, but He could be sure His sanity went there with him, so he could not be lost forever in the madness of his wish.
Perception rests on choosing; knowledge does not. Knowledge has but one law because it has but one Creator. But this world has two who made it, and they do not see it as the same. To each it has a different purpose, and to each it is a perfect means to serve the goal for which it is perceived. For specialness, it is the perfect frame to set it off; the perfect battleground to wage its wars, the perfect shelter for illusions which it would make real. Not one but it upholds in its perception; not one but can be fully justified.
There is another Maker of the world, the simultaneous Corrector of the mad belief that anything could be established and maintained without some link that kept it still within the laws of God; not as the law itself upholds the universe as God created it, but in some form adapted to the need the Son of God believes he has. Corrected error is the error’s end. And thus has God protected still His Son, even in error.
There is another purpose in the world that error made, because it has another Maker Who can reconcile its goal with His Creator’s purpose. In His perception of the world, nothing is seen but justifies forgiveness and the sight of perfect sinlessness. Nothing arises but is met with instant and complete forgiveness. Nothing remains an instant, to obscure the sinlessness that shines unchanged, beyond the pitiful attempts of specialness to put it out of mind, where it must be, and light the body up instead of it. The lamps of Heaven are not for mind to choose to see them where it will. If it elects to see them elsewhere from their home, as if they lit a place where they could never be, then must the Maker of the world correct your error, lest you remain in darkness where the lamps are not.
Everyone here has entered darkness, yet no one has entered it alone. Nor need he stay more than an instant. For he has come with Heaven’s Help within him, ready to lead him out of darkness into light at any time. The time he chooses can be any time, for help is there, awaiting but his choice. And when he chooses to avail himself of what is given him, then will he see each situation that he thought before was means to justify his anger turned to an event which justifies his love. He will hear plainly that the calls to war he heard before are really calls to peace. He will perceive that where he gave attack is but another altar where he can, with equal ease and far more happiness, bestow forgiveness. And he will reinterpret all temptation as just another chance to bring him joy.
How can a misperception be a sin? Let all your brother’s errors be to you nothing except a chance for you to see the workings of the Helper given you to see the world He made instead of yours. What, then, is justified? What do you want? For these two questions are the same. And when you see them as the same, your choice is made. For it is seeing them as one that brings release from the belief there are two ways to see. This world has much to offer to your peace, and many chances to extend your own forgiveness. Such its purpose is, to those who want to see peace and forgiveness descend on them, and offer them the light.
The Maker of the world of gentleness has perfect power to offset the world of violence and hate that seems to stand between you and His gentleness. It is not there in His forgiving eyes. And therefore it need not be there in yours. Sin is the fixed belief perception cannot change. What has been damned is damned and damned forever, being forever unforgivable. If, then, it is forgiven, sin’s perception must have been wrong. And thus is change made possible. The Holy Spirit, too, sees what He sees as far beyond the chance of change. But on His vision sin cannot encroach, for sin has been corrected by His sight. And thus it must have been an error, not a sin. For what it claimed could never be, has been. Sin is attacked by punishment, and so preserved. But to forgive it is to change its state from error into truth.
The Son of God could never sin, but he can wish for what would hurt him. And he has the power to think he can be hurt. What could this be except a misperception of himself? Is this a sin or a mistake, forgivable or not? Does he need help or condemnation? Is it your purpose that he be saved or damned? Forgetting not that what he is to you will make this choice your future? For you make it now, the instant when all time becomes a means to reach a goal. Make, then, your choice. But recognize that in this choice the purpose of the world you see is chosen, and will be justified.
ACIM Workbook Lesson for August 3
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
(195) Love is the way I walk in gratitude.
The Holy Spirit is my only Guide. He walks with me in love.
And I give thanks to Him for showing me the way to go.
I am not a body. I am free.
For I am still as God created me.
ACIM Q & A for Today
Q #761: If God is “absolute” and “one,” there cannot be anything but Him. How then can there be a Son, and why? Is God dreaming or is the Son? What link if any is there between God and the world — the Holy Spirit or the Son? If this world is an illusion and God hasn’t made it, do angels and other spiritual beings also “not exist”? Do we exist if time was but a moment in our mind and is long gone by, what are the practical implications for our daily lives? Even if we recognize this fact, I don’t feel that this makes any difference in our normal lives. The world does not cease to exist, even if we try.
A: From the perspective of absolute truth, you are right, there can be no Son distinguishable from God (W.pI.132.12:4). It is only within the seeming dream of the sleeping Son that there appear to be two entities, God and the Son. And, unlike some Eastern spiritual teachings, the God of the Course does not dream and the world is not the effect of His dreaming but of the Son’s. The Course speaks of the Son because it is addressed to a mind caught in the misbelief of duality and separation, and so uses the split mind’s symbols to correct the misbelief, while we still believe we are separate (T.25.I.7:4) . See also Questions #27, #72, #85 and #228 for further discussions of how A Course in Miracles comes to us in dualistic language, despite its nondualistic metaphysics.
There is no link between God and the world, for the world is only a shadowy projection of an illusory thought of guilt in the mind. There is however a Link between God and the mind of the Son that seems to have fallen asleep, which the Course calls the Holy Spirit (T.6.I.19:1 ; T.10.III.2:5,6; T.13.XI.8:1; C.6.3,4) . This link is not a separate entity — although the Course often speaks of the Holy Spirit in this way — but is only the memory of God (T.10.II.2:3,4,5,6) that we would have had to carry with us in our mind into the dream, since we can never separate from God in reality.
Nothing within the realm of duality and separate beings, including angels, has any real existence from the Course’s perspective. The Course does use the concept of angels in a number of places, but only as a symbol of God’s Love (see also Questions #36 and #413ii). That realm of duality also includes the selves we think we are. The “I” is the false self of the ego, the illusory individual self we all cling to as our identity. The Course’s goal, through the process of forgiveness, or letting go of our judgments, is to lead us to a readiness to release all the concepts we hold about ourselves, including, at the very end of the process, the concept that we are an individual self, an “I” — ego is, after all, the Latin word for “I.”
Although the Course’s metaphysics teaches that time is already over, Jesus acknowledges that, as you point out, this is not our experience: “For those in time can speak of things beyond, and listen to words which explain what is to come is past already. Yet what meaning can the words convey to those who count the hours still, and rise and work and go to sleep by them?” (W.169.10:3,4). And yet, in practical terms, as we can allow ourselves to accept the possibility of the idea, even if it is not our immediate experience, it may perhaps help us over time begin to take the specifics of our lives and ourselves just a little less seriously, to have a little less concern about how things turn out, and to be more open merely to watching ourselves move through our lives without trying so obstinately to control the outcomes. All of these would be reflections of a deepening peace that flows from the acceptance of all that is, which forgiveness brings about. And what could be more practical?