So many interesting thoughts surge through me as I read the works of Origen. I want to discuss with you today one particular concept.
He says that just as humans are body, mind, and spirit, so are the scriptures! They are layered so that they speak to people who are at different levels.
The body level is where simple people take things literally, even the most absurd, and never go on to deeper understanding. He says that the law of Moses, for example, says not to eat goatstags, griffins or vultures. He notes that there are no such things as goatstags, no one has seen a griffin, and not even starving people have ever eaten vultures. So this has to mean something other than at the body level. Also, laws like the ten commandments are needed for the simple people at this level. He discusses many things in both Testaments that are absurd at the literal level. Yet, simple people accept them.
The soul level is where people go deeper. They seek to go beyond the surface. They know there is more to life than the physical. They understand the ten commandments are important, but they are unlikely to do those things anyway. They know they are accountable to a higher power for how they live. They discuss philosophy and other deeper things.
The spirit level is where people are in touch with higher wisdom. They seek to understand the allegories in the scriptures and know the mysteries contained therein can only be discovered by contemplation, study, and listening deeply. They also know that because God is infinite, all of the mystery cannot be understood, but they keep moving toward deeper and more full understanding even so.
If one has a goal to awaken spiritually in this lifetime, it may be important to consider these three and endeavor to move to the next higher one.
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