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Monday, March 20, 2023

The Holy Spirit Came When?

This morning I'm reading Origen, known as the first genius of Christian theology (185-253 C.E). One of the things he proposed was that the Holy Spirit came only to rare individuals, such as the prophets, before Jesus' ascent. After the ascent, the Holy Spirit was available to at least all of the followers of Jesus.

While I like a great deal of what Origen said, I disagree with this idea.

First of all, I think it ludicrous to think God, and the voice of Wisdom and Guidance that we now call The Holy Spirit, only became interested in us humans after Jesus left the planet. That God didn't guide people from the very first, but only very much later, is hubris of the first order. Only to "my" group makes no sense.

I heard this week that it is estimated that 99% of all written material from antiquity is lost to us, at least at this point. Civilizations rose and fell. Libraries were burned. Victors wiped out the cultures of the vanquished. History marched on. Some things got incorporated into the culture of the victors, but who knows what and why and how. It melded together or was discarded.

Also, there were very very very few literate people at any given time until quite recently, historically speaking. In the Roman Empire, it is thought that less than 5% of the people were literate. In the Middle Ages literacy was below 20% and did not increase until the Enlightenment and industrialization. 

Even so, we have some examples strewn across history of inspired people other than the Hebrew prophets. There were the well-known, such as Buddha, Lao Tse, Confucious, Plato, Aristotle and others, before Jesus' ascension. We can imagine other people sitting around a campfire, speculating about the big things, such as the meaning of life. And sometimes one or more at each campfire across thousands and thousands of years and all across this planet, had an epiphany, an aha moment that hit them and led them to know more. They couldn't write it down, or even if they could, it disintegrated between then and now or is buried under layers and layers of civilizations built upon other civilizations.

Just in my life, in conversations, people speak of inspired events in their lives, of moments of spiritual understanding and insight. Very few write them down to share with others in the future centuries.

In many of the ancient writings that we do have, Wisdom is spoken of with reverence. It was thought to come to at least some from something More. The Holy Spirit is our Counselor, our Guide, Wisdom expanded beyond our finite understandings. And I fervently believe that It is and was available to all open and seeking souls. May we be so open.

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