Chapel on the Bridge
WHERE ARE YOU, GOD?
A Metaphysical Interpretation of the Biblical Book ofJob
Nancy B. Detweiler
Scripture Reading for this Lesson: Job 23-27
Job yearns to commune with God. He is realizing that neither he nor his friends possess meaningful answers to life's most troubling questions. After all this time sitting on the ashes heap, Job has gained little real insight into his suffering. The traditional religious leaders have, perhaps unknowingly, erected huge stumbling blocks for Job. Many of us encounter the same barriers on our spiritual journey. Traditional religious tenets are based on the belief that God is separated from humanity. We are not sure where to find God. Our religious traditions have so permeated our psyches with fear that we are not sure we want to enter God's presence. Myriad questions plague us: "What if I am not worthy?" "How could I possibly be worthy?" "What if I have committed a sin (mistake) that I do not know about?" "Will God punish me?" When we think in terms of God as a separate being, we can conjure up a multitude of fears impacting our willingness to seek the divine presence.
In the midst of our suffering, a God separate from us is hard to find. We look outside ourselves and God is invisible. "Behold, if he goes before me, I know not; or behind, I cannot perceive him. I seek him on my left hand, but I cannot behold him; then I turn to my right hand, but I cannot see him." 136
Our uncertainty as to what God requires of us adds to our dilemma. Job knows that during the present incarnation he has lived a righteous life. Yet, according to his religious background, his suffering signals otherwise. In his bewilderment, Job ponders, "My feet have held firm to his steps, and I have kept his ways.. But in return for one of these, what has he granted me? What his soul desires, even that he does.. [In other words, God can do whatever God wants to do.] Therefore, I am fearful at his presence; when I consider, I am afraid of him. For God has troubled my heart, and my mind is confused: because I was not silenced before the darkness, and before the covering of the blackness." 137 Job is between a rock and a hard place. He has obeyed God's laws to the best of his knowledge; yet, he is afraid he has not pleased God. And horror of horrors, what if God does not like Job because he stands up for himself? Did God think Job would take this suffering sitting down? Will God once more afflict Job for not collapsing under the strain of his suffering? What does He expect of Job? What does He expect of us? Can we be angry with God and survive? Will He show us who is all-powerful if we dare to take a stand for ourselves? This hidden God, separate from us, is so unpredictable. How can we possibly know the right thing to do or to think?
Like Job, we behold those who appear to sail through life, with no thought of God. "Why are the wicked not hidden from the presence of God and why do those who know him never enjoy their days? . In darkness, [the wicked] break into houses which [they have] marked in the daytime. The wicked know not the light." 138 The wicked wait for the darkness, then have their way. From the midst of darkness, the righteous cry out in pain and God is hidden. Where is fairness? In his effort to see God as fair, Job hopes, "After death they shall be remembered no more; and the wicked shall be broken like a piece of wood.. The wealth of a man of power is sustained by his own strength; he does not depend on divine guidance. Though he be granted safety, wherein he has confidence, yet his eyes are upon his own evil ways. Such men are exalted for a little while, but soon are no more." 139
Few of us, in today's world, believe the wicked will be exalted for a little while, than fade away. Our fascination with the mafia families is just one example of how the wicked live on. The legal system in the United States, and likely elsewhere on our planet, is skewed in favor of the criminal's rights. We glorify the criminal while forgetting the one toward whom violence was perpetrated. We see no evidence that the wicked soon disappear into obscurity. So, where is a God of fairness?
Bildad, our intellectual consciousness, only makes matters worse. "How then can man be justified with God? Or how can he be declared blameless, he who is born of a woman? Behold, even the moon cannot be justified; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight. How much less man, who is dust, and the son of man, who is a worm!" 140 Wow! How can we ever overcome such condemnation? How can we believe in a God of love when the very manner by which we incarnate on physical plane condemns us? How can a magnificent God of Love and Light relate to a meager worm crawling on the ground. If we are really only dust, then why try? Why strive for righteousness? We will only disintegrate back into dust in a few short years. Such a belief system could, and does, destroy the human spirit. We are taught: God is separate from humanity; humanity is hopelessly condemned to a life of crawling on the ground because the son of man is a worm. As bleak as Bildad's comments sound on the surface, the hidden wisdom of Truth shines through for those with the eyes to see and the ears to hear.141 How so?
"Behold, even the moon cannot be justified; yea, the stars are not pure in his sight . the son of man, who is a worm!" The promise of transformation is concealed within these harsh words. In soul-centered astrology, the Moon represents the personality that has incarnated, bringing with it the karmic debts that the soul has selected to resolve. The zodiac sign in which the Moon is located (in an individual natal chart) reveals the nature of these karmic debts and the ways in which they can be resolved. The goal is to transform our negative personality traits into their opposing positive expression.142 The negative personality traits (or Moon) cannot be justified-in other words, our negative traits cannot be carried into an enlightened consciousness.
The 'stars are not pure in his sight" would remind us that all of creation-including the stars-is evolving into an ever-increasing degree of purity and God-likeness. The hidden wisdom teaches that stars are, in reality, living beings of light that are treading their own unique path of spiritual evolution. Humanity is simply the microcosm of the macrocosm. We are interconnected with all that is; we are made of the same substance as all that is; and humanity is evolving into ever-increasing degrees of purity and God-likeness along with the stars and all of creation.
That we are presently sons of man reveals our spiritual blindness. As we awaken to the presence of God within us, we will come to know that we are not solely a son or daughter of man. The gospels refer to Jesus as both son of man and Son of God. We are, like our brother Jesus, Daughters and Sons of God. Thus, obscured within an apparent condemnation of humankind nestles a promise of transformation.
Job answers Bildad (his intellect) with a description of a powerful God, before whom "the mighty men shall be slain, and they shall lie down quieter than still
From the void of Self, our Creator God, "stretches out north from the empty space, and hangs the earth upon nothing."144 Humanity is a microcosm of this macrocosm that hangs in what appears to earth humans to be empty space. In soul-centered astrology, north signifies the innermost being of Self, the Holy of Holies of our body Temple, the foundation of our spiritual and psychological well-being. Upon this invisible foundation hangs the earthiness of our physical bodies. North (the Nadir or 4th house cusp of our natal chart) is where we experience the "God-in-the-depths" of Self, so that we can express the "splendor of God-in-the-heights" through the uniqueness of our individual selfhood.145 As God expresses mightily through the macrocosm of His created order, so the microcosm of humanity has the divine power to stand in the North (the innermost being of Self) and assume the responsibility for the unfolding of our life experiences.
"By his spirit he manages the heavens; his hand slew the fleeing serpent." 146 As he recounts the power of God, Job is awakening to the duality of life on physical plane. Likewise, when we pray the Lord's Prayer, we ask that God's will be done on earth as it is in heaven. The fleeing serpent symbolizes our sense consciousness,147 our desire nature that seeks expression apart from God. "By his spirit he manages the heavens; his hand slew the fleeing serpent." As microcosm of the macrocosm, humanity is to awaken to the divine power within self to allow Spirit to permeate every area of our lives. We then live in the heavens of Self; we live out the Divine Will through our Higher or Christed Self. As a result, God's will is done on earth through the medium of our physical plane lives. The fleeing serpent is slain by our Christed Consciousness. Then, it will be said of us, as well as of our Father/Mother God: "The greatness of his might who can understand?" 148 We are child gods.149 Job is growing in his realization of Self.
As the 3rd cycle of dialogues between Job and his friends (or the fleeing serpent parts of himself) comes to an end, Job turns on them. "As for you, I will deliver you into the hands of God; so that your works may be hid from him.. This is the portion of the wicked man with God.. If their children are multiplied, it is for the sword.. For God shall cast him out without pity, and he cannot escape out of his hand." 150 The wicked are the fleeing serpents of our lower selves, the part of us that turns away from God, preferring to fulfill our sensual desires. It is the manifestations (or children) of our lower, ego-natures that God (or our Higher Self) will cast out without pity. Once we tap into the heavens of our Higher Self, we no longer find the pleasures of earth so tantalizing. We can walk away, with no thought of self-pity. At this stage in our initiatory process, we are approaching the 3rd initiation-the Transfiguration. We are evolving into beings of Light.
Job is now aware of the presence of God within him. He realizes that God is as close to him as the breath in his nostrils. "As long as my soul is in me, and the spirit of God is in my nostrils; my lips shall not speak wickedness, nor my tongue utter deceit. God forbid that I should do evil, till I die I will not remove my innocence from me." 151 As we approach the Cardinal Cross, we become increasingly attuned to our soul's desires. God forbid that I should do evil becomes our heartfelt prayer. We no longer pray this prayer out of fear of God's punishment; instead, we pray it out of love for God. We are learning to love God with all our heart, mind, soul, and strength. Fear is no longer an unconscious underpinning. The word evil is live spelled backwards. To do evil is to live with our backs turned toward God, heedless of the desires of our Soul. To do evil is to believe that God is separate from us and therefore not involved in our lives. To do evil is to allow our love for God (including our love for our own I AM PRESENCE) to be tainted with fear. "Perfect love casts out fear." 152 Belief in a God who punishes is no longer possible. We know better.
Job has turned away from his friends-the parts of himself that cannot know Truth. But, the journey is not over. In fact, it is just beginning. To discover portions of Truth is not enough. We must learn to integrate Truth into our lifestyles. We must learn to be in the world, but not of the world. "If you were of the world, the world would love its own; but you are not of the world for I have chosen you out of the world; this is why the world hates you." 153 With these words, Jesus prepared us for the rest of our journey on earth plane.
"The light that you so crave will come out of the deep
If you will but keep still and look for it from that source." 154
136 Job 23:8-9.
137 Job 23:11, 13, 15-17.
138 Job 24:1, 16.
139 Job 24:20, 22-24.
140 Job 25:4-6.
141 Matthew 13:16.
142 To personalize your study, go to Appendix # 6 entitled Zodiac Signs & the Moon. Read the Introductory remarks, then determine the zodiac sign in which your natal Moon is located. Study the interpretation provided.
143 Job 26:5.
145 Dane Rudhyar, The Astrological Houses: The Spectrum of Individual Experience (New York: A Doubleday Paperback, 1972) 75.
146 Job 26:13.
147 Charles Fillmore, The Revealing Word (Unity Village, Missouri: Unity Books, 1959) 178.
148 Job 26:14.
149 "Jesus answered, 'Is it not written in your law, I said: you are gods?'" Jesus quotes Psalm 82:6.
150 Job 27:11, 13a, 22.
151 Job 27:3-5.
152 I John 4:18.
153 John 15:19.
154 H. Emilie Cady, Lessons in Truth (Unity Village, Missouri: Unity Books, 1903) 114.
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