Examining Thomas, Saying 44

Wednesday, June 19, 2019

Thomas, Saying 44. Jesus said: Whoever blasphemes against the father will be forgiven. Whoever blasphemes against the son will be forgiven. But whoever blasphemes against the Holy Spirit will not be forgiven, neither on earth or in heaven.

3:05 a.m. I keep expecting to come to a Saying in Thomas that you will be unable to explain, and I wouldn’t be surprised if 44 is it. For one thing, I don’t really know what the word “blaspheme” is supposed to mean.

Looking it up via a computer search, I see “to speak impiously or irreverently of God or sacred things.” But another defines it as using God’s name irreverently, as in Goddammit. Assuming that’s the meaning, can you make sense of Saying 44 for us? I mean, why would God or the son or the Holy Spirit care?

Assuming that if Jesus said it, it’s true, and that if the disciples recorded the Saying and used it as a talking point, it’s true, maybe you would be better off asking not “Why?” so much as “How?”

I don’t understand.

Well, how is it that an offense would be or would not be forgiven? Not in terms of “Why would God or whomever be willing or unwilling to forgive,” but what does forgiveness even mean? And how would it manifest? What did Saying 43 say?

43 was Jesus saying he and the father were one, in effect; he compared the tree and its fruit to the divine and its manifestation in him (or maybe, as him).

So Saying 44, in making an absolute distinction between father and son on the one hand, and Holy Spirt on the other, says what?

I don’t know. I have a problem with the whole idea of sin and forgiveness and punishment.

You wouldn’t if you looked at it psychologically as well as metaphysically or, we should say, theologically. The more vantage points one looks from, the more clearly a thing is seen in its roundedness, rather than as a flat profile. Carl Jung took religious impulses quite seriously, as you know, saying that he couldn’t prove there was a God, but he could prove that the idea of God was firmly rooted in the human psyche.

Possibly we should ask him to contribute?

It depends what you want. A strictly psychological approach will not suffice, but as an adjunct certainly it will contribute.

Well, I’m feeling nudged to do so. Dr. Jung, do you care to contribute? As always, I assume that someone called into a conversation is aware of context.

That assumption has served you well for these few/many years. It is a useable hypothesis.

But – I gather – only a 3D approximation of a non-3D phenomenon.

Useable, nonetheless.

Can you give us your thoughts on blasphemy or forgiveness or both, plus anything else you think worthwhile?

Let us begin with forgiveness, for that is actually the key to this particular saying.

It is?

Yes. Blasphemy is used as an example in order to clarify the nature of the Holy Spirt as opposed to the other two aspects of the trinity.

Why should blasphemy be the sin that cannot be forgiven? And why for that matter should there be any sin that cannot be forgiven? Did not Jesus elsewhere admonish his disciples to forgive seven times seventy times – that is, times without number? Why should any aspect of the divine be held to a lower standard than was expected of mere humans?

Well, it never has made sense to me. I have been tempted to write the whole subject off as theological addition after the fact, probably working from logic mixed with expediency. But that can’t be the case with a Saying from Thomas, recorded and preserved long before the fossilization of the movement into an organization.

You are overlooking the major aspect of forgiveness – as people will do. It is not a matter of one forgiving another, as a magnanimous or generous gesture, and the other receiving it with gratitude or relief or whatever other emotion. That is part of it, but the lesser part. The major part, the only important part, is a freeing, on both sides. He who forgives dissolves what you would call an energetic tie to the one being forgiven, or perhaps we should say a tie to the act itself, though it is seldom seen that way. He who is forgiven – and accepts that forgiveness – similarly is released from bondage to the act, more than to bondage to the person forgiving.

This may be more accessible to your understanding if you consider the matter of self-forgiveness. You will have seen over your life the value and the difficulty for people in forgiving themselves. If it were merely a matter of one person’s relation to another, the bond created by the offense would dissolve when the person with a grievance passed out of the offender’s life. But instead, people carry that guilt, perhaps for decades, perhaps through more than one 3D lifetime (as an energetic pattern), perhaps over something that is actually but not psychologically trivial or even justifiable.

I should have seen this from my experience with Confession as a boy in the Catholic church. What a sense of relief, sometimes! What a sense of a new beginning, hoverer little came of the resolution to begin again. As you say, it was about freeing me from bondage to what must have been trivial sins, but they didn’t seem trivial to me at the time, necessarily.

The Catholic guilt at being unable to live up to an absolute standard was mitigated by the Catholic sacrament of Penance, and I often regretted that we had no secular equivalent widely available to those who needed it – for not everybody needing absolution could afford to hire a psychologist!

So, you see, forgiveness is between oneself and oneself, except insofar as another person’s refusal of forgiveness may serve to bind. Now, how can this relate to God? As you say, God cannot be held to a lower standard than man, and, Jesus’ words here cannot be said to have been invented or distorted. So what can this mean?

I still don’t know. I doubt if anybody who routinely says Goddammit as a way of blowing off steam intends any harm, or sees himself as doing harm, or in fact does or could do any harm. So even self-forgiveness doesn’t seem to come into it.

And still I tell you that forgiveness and not blasphemy is the key to this Saying.

Are we perhaps coming to say that self-forgiveness is the key here too?

Yes. Continue. As you piece it out, it will organize itself in your mind and you will have it, in a way you could not if it were given to you complete.

I suppose we could look at it this way: The divine – whatever that is – may be considered as the non-3D creator of 3D and all that is in it, and that’s the God the Father aspect. It may also be seen as the 3D/non-3D creatures that we are; God the Son, as an aspect rather than as only one man in one time. And that being so, the spirit animating us, the vast impersonal forces perhaps, or perhaps the reality beyond the vast impersonal forces that blow through our lives, may be considered the Holy Spirit. We partake in all three aspects; everyone does.

And if you insult yourself? That is, if you blaspheme against the Holy Spirit?

That’s very interesting. Would you care to spell it out, now that I’ve stumbled toward it?

If you (we) are part of the Holy Spirit, it is in a different way from how we are part of the other two aspects of the divine trinity. Jesus is saying exactly that. We are indistinguishable from the Holy Spirit in the sense of our lives being impossible without it.

But aren’t they impossible without the divine in general, “in whom we live and move and have our being”?

Yes, but that isn’t the point here. Your 3D life may be lived without your ever suspecting that the Holy Spirit is the very breath of life. It is so close to you, so much a part of you, as to be invisible. You need to pause, as your energy is flagging, but consider this question: How could anyone insult the Holy Spirit that is the life within? When you return to this, begin with that question and deal with it before trying to go on the next Saying.

All right. Many thanks.


One thought on “Examining Thomas, Saying 44

  1. I wrote down a slightly different but similar perspective on this saying a few years back:

    “The spirit that came from your soul and manifested itself as “you” in the flesh is the “holy spirit”. “Blaspheming” against yourself means you do not recognize who you are, thus denying your own being. Your beliefs affect you in both your physical life and the afterlife. It doesn’t matter if you believe or deny in God or a soul as those are from ignorance of self, but “knowing yourself” cannot be done except by each individual and thus is “unforgivable” (you can’t forgive something you are not aware of, nor can anyone else forgive or condemn).”

    I was interpreting the saying in relation to “knowing yourself”, rather than “forgiving yourself”.

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