A Correct Interpretation of ACIM?s Concept of God
?Unless you create you are unfulfilled, but God does not know unfulfillment, therefore you must create? (7.9, 3:6).
This sentence (from A Course in Miracles Text: chapter 7, section 9, paragraph 3, sentence 6) is one very clear example of the fact that most, if not all, of Jesus? logical arguments throughout the Course are based on his consistent and persistent teaching that reality, i.e., God and His creations, is perfect and changeless. God is perfect and changeless, and you ? as God created you ? are perfect and changeless as well. This teaching on the perfection and changelessness of God and His creations is one of the most fundamental teachings in the Course.
Let us examine the logical argument set forth in this sentence. The first thing we need to recognize is that from a logical point of view the term ?unless? means ?if not?. Given this, we may legitimately translate the first clause into: ?if you do not create then you are unfulfilled.? The next clause, ?God does not know unfulfillment? implies, among other things, that ?God does not know you as unfulfilled? and thus ?you cannot be unfulfilled.? The last clause of the sentence, ?Therefore you must create,? is a logical conclusion that follows from the two previous statements that serve as premises of a syllogism.
In reaching this conclusion, Jesus follows a basic rule in logic regarding a conditional (If?then) proposition, namely, if you negate (deny) the consequent, you must negate the antecedent. Here Jesus does just that. We can display his syllogistic argument as follows:
If you do not create (antecedent) then you are unfulfilled) (consequent),
But you cannot be unfulfilled (negates the consequent),
Therefore, you must create (negates the antecedent).
The second premise of this syllogism is logically equivalent to ?You must be fulfilled.? The question arises, ?with what are you fully filled?? The answer is in the sentence before this one. The answer is ?joy?. ?It therefore blocks your joy, so that you perceive yourself as unfulfilled.? (7.9, 3:5) In other words, as God created you, (and He knows you only as He created you) you are fully filled with joy. For reasons that will become clear a little later, we may translate ?you must be fulfilled? into ?your joy must be complete.? In this context then the statement, ?you cannot be unfulfilled? is logically equivalent to ?your joy cannot be incomplete.? This applies to God as well. The statement ?God cannot be unfulfilled? is logically equivalent to ?God?s joy cannot be incomplete.?
As mentioned above, behind this argument ? and behind most logical arguments like it in the Course ? is Jesus? consistent and persistent teaching that God and you, as God created you, are perfect. In addition, your perfection, as well as His, includes being perfectly happy or experiencing pure, perfect, and complete joy. The perfect cannot be rendered imperfect or lacking. The perfect is changeless; it is always the same forever.
It is this teaching about perfection and changelessness, then that is behind the specific claim that Jesus makes in this argument, namely, the claim that God does not know unfulfillment. In other words, Jesus is claiming that God is never unfulfilled, nor does God ever know or experience you as unfulfilled. He knows and experiences you only as He created you ? perfect like Him ? because it is only this ?you? that is real. It is only this ?you? God knows. As Jesus says elsewhere, ?God know but His Son, and as he was created so he is? (M29, 7:10).
Let us look now at these two sentences: ?Unless you take your part in the creation, His [God?s] joy is not complete because yours is incomplete. And this He does know? (4.7,6:4-5).
It is easy to misinterpret these two sentences. And unfortunately they have been misinterpreted by some teachers and students of the Course. They have taken these sentences to mean that God?s joy is incomplete and therefore His joy can be incomplete. This misinterpretation is the result of a failure to perceive the logic of what is being said here. Let us examine the logic.
From what we learned by reflecting on 7.9,3:6, we can display the logic here as follows:
If you do not take your part in creation, then your joy is incomplete,
And if your joy is incomplete then God?s joy is incomplete.
And this God does know.
I believe that what is important here is to make sure we do not misinterpret the word ?this? in 6:5. For example, some have mistakenly taught that Jesus is stating that in reality, God the Father knows that you are not taking your part in the creation, or that in reality He knows and experiences that your joy is incomplete, and therefore His joy is incomplete as well. We have seen from 7.9,3:6 that none of these statements can be true.
Notice that Jesus does not negate the consequent of a conditional proposition like he did in our first example of his logic (7.9,3:6) Nor does he affirm an antecedent. This is because he is interested only in stating the relationship between you taking your part in the creation and your complete joy, and in stating the relation between your complete joy and God?s complete joy. So he neither affirms an antecedent nor denies a consequent. The next statement reads: ?And this God does know.? To what does the word ?this? refer? Well, I say it refers to the relationships mentioned in the previous sentence. God knows the relation between your creating and your complete joy and between your complete joy and His.
By understanding the logic in these two examples we can see that the Course is not contradicting one of its fundamental teachings about the nature of God and His creations when we read the sentences in (4.7,6:4-5)
We have thus seen that these sentences do not make Jesus inconsistent in teaching that God created each of us as a perfect mind like Him, and that we always remain a perfect mind like Him. What we are as our Father created us can never change or be changed. God?s creations are unchanged, unchanging, and unchangeable. So, despite our temporary forgetting, it is still true that in reality we are, and will forever be, perfectly happy minds, creating in union with our perfect Father and experiencing pure, perfect, and complete joy!
Copyright © 2002, 2o18 ? Robert J. Hellmann