“Is Life A Pass/Fail Experience?”

Presenter: Dick Stetler – July 2021

    There comes a time during our life-experiences when we begin to ask very important questions about our existence.  Questions like: “Who am I?” “What is life’s meaning?” or “Does my life have a purpose?” Such questions are only the beginning of the ones we will ask during the rest of our life’s journey. Quite often, such questions come to us when we are about to be weaned from the security of our families.  We find ourselves being launched into life on our own following our graduation from high school, college, or entering our first job. 

    Life does not come to us with a safe road map to follow.  We can feel isolated and alone when we begin trying to answer the searching-questions. While being free to take total responsibility for our own fulfillment and happiness, unknowns begin to appear. We may feel drawn toward certain interests and preferences.  We begin having feelings that come from our sexual attractions that can be awkward.  We eventually come face to face with people whose values are different from ours.

    In addition, young Christians have to deal with the beliefs of our sinful nature.  We are blessed or cursed by the myth of the Garden of Eden. Among the Scriptures in the Hebrew Bible, the Garden myth became a popular theme among a number of pastors.  Building on that theme, Christians are admonished by pastors and Sunday School teachers to accept and abide by beliefs that will save them from the temptations that come to flawed human beings. 

    Another question that our searching minds may generate is:  “Why would our Creator create such flawed people.  There are a number of books that have explored the fall of man.  Is our having to make choices a fault of God?

    If there was a fall because of the disobedience of Adam and Eve, it was a fall forward. There is little question that the story is a metaphor but it was not describing disobedience as alleged by the Church.  The story gives a testimony to the curiosity and appetite of humans for discovering truth. The snake told the truth about God’s deceptive nature.  “You will not die as God told you if you eat the fruit.”  

    The punishment from God was not punishment at all, but the consequence of being liberated from being totally dependent on God.  Men and women were on their own.  This story is identical to the experience of every spirit-being who chooses to leave the security of Heaven by incarnating into our limited human forms. People had to rule, learn a craft like carpentry, develop writing, engage in trade, build cities, and learn to get along with different people living beyond their settlement.

    They did so completely blind about their future. They had to procreate while struggling to survive during the early stages of humanity’s development.  Spiritual development was also in its primitive infancy.  Our ancient ancestors developed gods to worship.  The sun and rain made things grow. Rivers needed to flood to replenish the soil with nutrients. Had the first man and woman never left the Garden of Eden, they would have remained satisfied, unthreatened, and complacent forever.  They would never have realized that they were slaves to having everything done for them.  This is a dilemma of angels to this day.

    Incarnating into their limited forms, forced people to create better ways to accomplish what they needed not only to survive but to thrive. Most of all, they discovered emotions, something spirit-beings never had in their former environment.  

    In their new limited forms, they experienced fear, trust, lust, and respect. With their limited life-span, each had to slowly become creators of their own future. To accomplish growing spiritually, they had to develop their cultures in an illusionary, material world that was filled with dualities. They had to choose for themselves what was good and what was evil, what was pleasurable and what was painful, and figuring out what had limitations and what created infinite growth. They had a brief time to figure out how to live with what worked and what did not.    

    Incarnation into our physical bodies is not for the timid.  When spirit-beings come into our physical forms, they are often terrified. The material world is filled with loud noises and shiny objects.  What saves them from remaining terrified is the love of their mothers who become the first god that we know. 

    Many of them decide that life was not worth it and return to safety, leaving medicine men mystified why babies can be born deceased.   The fault is with the disposition and their preference for security by entities who suddenly change their mind and exit. This happens because they had never experienced terror and fear. Those who choose to stay for the adventure do so with all their skills and attributes within them but they have little or no memory of them.  They have no idea what they were in their former environment. Their primary task for living in the physical world is to awaken spiritually, accessing what is within them, and create from what they find.

    In addition to awakening from their slumber they have to forget needing a savior like wealth, power, material assets, and gods that give them security. Once awakened more fully, they realize that their discovery leads them away from wanting to be like their brothers and sisters. History has focused on such beings who became spiritual leaders, remarkable statesmen, or people who created what enhanced the advancement of the human species.        

    Confucius was born in China’s Lu Providence in 551 BC.  Siddhartha Gautama was born in 623 BC in Lumbini, Nepal.  There is no evidence that the two ever met or even knew of the existence of each other. Lao Tzu was born in the 6th Century BC and was the founder of Taoism.  Jesus was born in Bethlehem, in Judah 500 years after Siddhartha (The Buddha). These men awakened to having a spiritual nature and soon attributes like imagination, intuition, and spirit became fertile ground for religions to be born.

    In their own way, such people began teaching those around them to live with different attitudes. Helping others to find their spiritual rudder became the prime-directive of their teachings.  Without that discovery, people’s lives would be lived rudderless until they learned that they could never control the wind.  They could only adjust to it by changing the angle of their sails. They turned an adversary into a servant by learning better ideas.  By growing into greater maturity, their preferences eventually gave them their identities.  Each new generation built on what had been created by those living before them. One of the greater discoveries of all time was electricity.

    The more their value systems grew the more they learned what worked and what did not, what was good for themselves and what was evil, and finally what enabled people to achieve a higher standard of living. Societies began creating by discovering that nearly anything born in their imaginations could be accomplished.

    With this brief review of our species primitive origins, we can understand that life is not a pass/fail experience.  Life is a matter of growth.  Some people reach for everything that seemed impossible to those in their past.  Others use their gifts to cut corners and literally plateau by settling for the gods of the material world.  They have chosen to be content by building sand castles that will be erased by the tides of time and the advancements of others.  Without realizing it, they have become slaves to the illusions and temptations of a reality that will no longer exist when they graduate from living in their physical forms.  Jesus once taught:

What good is it to become the ruler of the world if you surrender developing your loving spirit, the only identity that will work in all worlds? Your illusions will vanish on the day that you die. I have overcome this world by teaching others to find and use the treasures within them.  The road that leads to life is narrow and only a few people find it during their lifetime. Build up for yourselves treasures of spirit that matter.  These are treasures that cannot be stolen. They can only be given away through their constant use.