An Apparent Contradiction?
“The inappropriate use of extension, or projection, occurs when you believe that some emptiness or lack exists in you, and that you can fill it with your own ideas instead of truth.” (2.1,1:7)
The Course teaches that the Son of God asked for something. And when his Father did not give it, he demanded to have it. This demand, as we have seen, plays a crucial role in the Course's explanation of the origin of the ego, the body, and the world.
It is our intention to show that the Course is not contradicting itself when it says that, on the one hand, the Son of God was created perfect, and on the other hand, the Son of God asked for something he did not have.
We must admit there is a paradox here. But a paradox is only a seeming contradiction. It may or may not be a real contradiction. We need to show that it is not. Stated simply and explicitly the contradiction would be this: The Son of God was created perfect, and the Son of God was not created perfect.
In other words, we need to show how it is logically possible for the Son, even though he was created perfect, to believe he lacked something, or that there was some emptiness in him. To do this we must discover exactly what the Son does not have in reality, and then show, even though he does not have this thing, it is still true that he was created perfect.
Is this question about the Son’s “lack” merely a statement in the mere form of a question to which an answer is impossible? Or is it one of the honest questions to which there are answers? Yes, it is. The questions we have already raised and answered are examples. We were not asking how did the impossible occur, but why do we seem to be separate even though the Course teaches that in reality it is impossible that we be separate from God or from each other. Why do we seem to be egos, or human beings, or minds using bodies, even though in reality we are the perfect Son of God? We did not claim that the world we see is real, but asked rather, how does the Course account for our experience of an illusory world and the evil (attack, suffering and death) we see in it? Why do we, who were created as pure and perfect minds co-creating in reality/the kingdom, seem to be imperfect minds within a body living in a world of space, time, and bodies?
These questions are not proclaiming that the separation, or the ego, or the world of bodies, or evil are real. No, we simply want to accept the Course's teaching that God created us perfect. And so, when we think we see an inconsistency, instead of concluding that the Course's theory is untenable because contradictory, we first try to see if we can resolve the apparent contradiction. The hope is that there is no real contradiction here, for if there is, the Course’s theoretical foundation will collapse, and what we hope to achieve in this book will be rendered impossible.
My conviction that this question about the Son's perfection is, indeed, an honest question, is strengthened by the fact that the author himself raises a very similar question. Furthermore, he says that it is not only reasonable to ask this question, but that it is "the best question you could ask".
“It is reasonable to ask how the mind could ever have made the ego. In fact, it is the best question you could ask.” (4.2,1:1-3)
The Course’s brief answer in this context is: you threw away knowledge (4.2,3) Throughout the Course we find many passages which help us answer "the best question you could ask". And in every case the answer involves the idea that "you threw knowledge away." And you are still avoiding the knowledge you threw away. You are constantly, with great effort, trying to keep it dissociated, which you must do if you are to believe that the self you made is real.
The Course does teach that the Son asked for something as if he believed he lacked it. This is how the author of the Course ultimately explains the origin of the ego, the body, and the world. It traces this back to a "tiny mad idea" that "crept into eternity", where all the minds that God created are one. The idea entered the mind of God's Son, and the Son "remembered not to laugh".
We have also seen that once the idea was taken seriously, and considered possible of accomplishment and real effects, an error was made. And once the original error was made each subsequent mistake inevitably led to the next, ultimately resulting in the illusory world we see. For once a part of the mind of God's Son identified with its miscreation, and guilt was accepted into the mind, the stage was set for making a place of darkness in which to hide from God, a god now thought to be intent on getting revenge for the attack on him. The physical world of bodies is that place of darkness.
After discussing all of this in the last chapter we now proceed to resolve the paradox mentioned above by first asking what, exactly, did the Son ask for, and does his asking imply that he was not created perfect?
(Excerpted from God, Self, and Evil: A Miracle Theodicy, Chapter 9, “Perfection and Seeming Lack”, copyright 2002, 2022.)