51. Spirit

51. Spirit


The word
spirit is often used without the speaker being aware of what spirit really is. One person regards it as the inner life of man, and another confuses the terms spirit and soul. But no one tries to explain what spirit means. The most exalted meaning as yet given to the word lies in the expression "God is Spirit", from which all the other ideas are deduced. In stating this, one sought to understand God Himself and to explain Him.

But it was just this that diverted seekers from the truth and disseminated errors, for it is wrong simply to say "God is Spirit".

God is Divine and not spiritual. Herein lies the explanation. One must never call
Divinity Spirit. Only spirituality is spirit.

The cause of this mistaken view is that, as man's origin is in the spiritual sphere, he is not able to conceive anything beyond that sphere and to him spirit is the sublimest idea that he can conceive. It is, therefore, natural that he should consider the most perfect and undimmed conception he could formulate, to be the origin of Creation, to be God. Hence, one can take it for granted that, though the wrong idea sprang from men's desire to picture to themselves their God so as to feel more closely united to Him, the principal cause of their error lay in the impossibility of grasping the real exalted sublimity of the Almighty.
God is Divine, His Will only is spirit. Out of this, his living Will, His immediate spiritual surroundings came into being: Paradise and its inhabitants. Out of this Paradise, which was the form God's Will had taken, proceeded the spiritual life-germ of man to begin its journey through Creation, a little spark of God's Will. Thus man is the bearer of God's Will; he bears or conveys the spirit into the whole of the material world. For this reason also he is bound to conform to the primordial Will of God in all his activity, and he is responsible if he allows influences coming from the material world to trouble, to invert, or indeed occasionally to entomb it. This was the talent of our Lord's Parable that was given to the servant to bear interest. From the mistaken supposition that God Himself is Spirit, of the same substance as the origin of man, it is evident that man never could have had a right conception of the Almighty. He must not only imagine the most perfect example of his own kind, but he must uplift himself in his imagination far above and beyond, to a region that will always remain incomprehensible to him, because his own spiritual nature would be incapable of conceiving it.

Spirit, therefore, is the
Will of God, the elixir that animates all Creation, which, if it is to continue to exist, must be permeated by it. Man is part-bearer of this spirit, which, in becoming conscious, should assist him in supporting and developing the whole universe. To do this, however, it is necessary that he should learn to use the powers of nature aright and make them subservient to the furtherance of the common welfare.