THE ETERNAL JOURNEY III:
The Origin of Consciousness
Around four to five thousand years ago, God began to withdraw the gift of “bicamerality” from the general population, with its divine use of command, possession and power to instruct human life.1 This momentous loss marked the end of the Edenic (“delight”) phase of mankind’s existence with its sense of “ligion” (ligation) to God.2 Those who claimed to still hear the hallucinatory voices of the “bicameral” mind assumed authority as kings, emperors, priests and/or prophets.3 This hierarchy then proceeded to instruct mankind on what to do. Those in the hierarchy assumed that they themselves constituted divinity and were therefore authorized to control all “others.” This was the introduction of human “power” and the beginning of “religion” (the alleged re-ligation of mankind to God).4
In this situation the “others” either passively submitted to “authority” or resented/resisted it. Not surprisingly, over the next few thousand years some began to accuse the god/gods of committing evil — e.g., expelling them from paradise, flooding the earth with water, scattering them abroad throughout the earth, slaughtering entire cities, etc. (cf. Genesis 3:23, 24; 6:17; 11:8; 19:24, 25). Then, about 3,000 years ago, the true God inaugurated human self-consciousness.5 God’s purpose was to abandon command, possession and power and to freely and reciprocally convey to mankind his covenantal promises and his intention to himself become human.6 For the first time human beings could refer to themselves as “I.” One of the first to do this was David.7 For example, David declared, “The Lord is my light and my salvation; whom shall I fear: the Lord is the strength of my life; of whom shall I be afraid?” (Psalm 27:1, emphases supplied).
Some adopted this new self-consciousness as a wonderful covenantal gift from the supreme God. Like David, they could rejoice and say, “The Lord is my shepherd; I shall not want. He maketh me to lie down in green pastures: he leadeth me beside the still waters. . . . ” (Psalm 23, emphases supplied). However, others concluded that self-consciousness represented their own divinity or potential for achieving divinity and, as a consequence, assumed that they had the authority and power to control and possess “others.” From this assumption emerged the Zadokite priests of Israel, who entered the Temple and asserted their divinity,8 the Hellenistic rulers such as Antiochus Epiphanes (“God Manifest”) IV, who defiled the Temple and oppressed “others,”9 and then the Roman imperial cult, which claimed divinity for the Caesars — at least upon their death.10
It was in this context that the One-and-Only God fulfilled his covenantal promise to become and to remain fully and truly human as Jesus Christ. Born in a manger in Bethlehem, carried into Egyptian exile, and then returned to the family’s ancestral home in Nazareth, God as Jesus Christ grew up in a humble family of artisans. His self-conscious words and works reveal his ultimate intentions for all humanity and all Creation. It is in this context that his life and ministry must now be addressed.
- See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Bicameralism (psychology)”; Julian Jaynes, The Origin of Consciousness in the Breakdown of the Bicameral Mind (Boston: Houghton Mifflin Co., 1976, 1979), pp. 100-125; “The Eternal Journey I: Prologue,” Outlook (March/April 2012). Cf. note 6. (go back)
- See “The Eternal Journey II: The Garden of Eden,” Outlook (May/June 2012). (go back)
- The Egyptian Pharaohs believed that they had descended from heavenly divinity and had the bicameral authority to domesticate human beings. See Karl W. Luckert, Egyptian Light and Hebrew Fire: Theological and Philosophical Roots of Christendom in Evolutionary Perspective (Albany, NY: State University of New York Press, 1991), pp. 41ff. (go back)
- See “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ VI: Empowerment,” Outlook (March 2010). (go back)
- See “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ V: Self-Consciousness,” Outlook (February 2010). (go back)
- See “The Gospel for the Postmodern World III: The ‘Other Side’ of God,” Outlook (January 2008); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ III: Command,” Outlook (December 2009); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ IV: Possession,” Outlook (January 2010); “The Divine Struggle for ‘I’ and ‘Thou’ VI: Empowerment,” Outlook (March 2010). (go back)
- See Thomas Cahill, The Gifts of the Jews: How a Tribe of Desert Nomads Changed the Way Everyone Thinks and Feels (New York: Doubleday, 1998), p. 199. (go back)
- See “‘Ye Shall Be As Gods,’” Outlook (March/April 2004). (go back)
- See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Antiochus IV Epiphanes.” (go back)
- See Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia, “Imperial Cult (ancient Rome).” (go back)