YOU WERE AT PEACE UNTIL...
How did we each get from being a pure and perfect mind to experiencing our self as a limited, separated self using a body?
There are many passages in A Course in Miracles that briefly deal with this question. But I find the most sustained discussion in the Text section entitled "The Fear of Redemption". The discussion is three paragraphs long (T-13.3,10-12), but here I quote and comment only on the first for the sake of space. Out of necessity, like the Course, I use analogical or metaphorical language to describe a situation that does not involve language at all.
"You who prefer separation to sanity cannot obtain it in your right mind. You were at peace until you asked for special favor. And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him, and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son. Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give. And the peace of God's Son was shattered, for he no longer understood his Father. He feared what he had made, but still more did he fear his real Father, having attacked his own glorious equality with Him". (T-13.3,10)
"You were at peace until you asked for special favor" (10:2). What is this request for special favor? There are many ways one could state what this request is. I interpret it as the request to create something special. In other words, the Son is asking His Father to allow him to create something on his own, apart from his Creator. This indeed would constitute a special favor given to any Son Who received permission to do such a thing. It is the Son's wish to create something separate from his Father that is referred to by the phrase "tiny mad idea". This idea "crept" into eternity, where all the minds of God's Son are one, co-creating with one another in union with God, their Father, the Prime Creator.
"And God did not give it for the request was alien to Him" (10:3). In other words, God did not allow His Son to create something special or something different from what he always creates. The whole idea is contrary to God's nature. The Father knows His Son only as He created him, and He created him as His co-creator with the function of extending the perfect Self they share. This is the Son's joy, just as it is his Father's. This can never change. The Father and the Son will always and forever be co-creators. Their perfect happiness lies in this. Their nature and their function lie in it. It is impossible that things be otherwise. And so, "God did not give it for the request was alien to Him."
"…and you could not ask this of a Father Who truly loved His Son"(10:3). A Father Who truly loved His Son could not give him permission to create something on his own so that he could be special and different from God and all His Sons. God cannot change Himself from being perfectly loving to being unloving. He gave everything to all His Sons. He cannot allow some Sons to create something special and different from what everyone creates. Only an unloving father could give what is being asked for here.
It is at this point that the psycho-logic of the Son takes a crucial step. The Course indicates that at this point the Son distorts the nature of his Creator, his Father, thinking Him something He is not. "Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give" (10:4). The Son thinks of his Father as unloving because His Father did not give him what he asked for.
Even though the Father did not give it, the Son, nevertheless, still wants it. He has taken seriously the idea of creating separately from his Creator, thus being a sole creator of something, and thereby meriting special favor because he is special, having created something special and different from what anyone else created.
God gave His Son the power to create and He could not take it from him. And the Son, having this power, demands the fulfillment of his wish. But God his Father says, as it were, "You are my Son, and We are one. Everything I have is yours, even the power to create the perfect. We are co-creators always. You cannot create apart from Me, and I cannot create apart from you." In effect, the Father is saying, "No" to the Son's request.
"Therefore you made of Him an unloving father, demanding of Him what only such a father could give"(10:4). At this point, it is as though a fixed, immovable and unchangeable object is faced with an irresistible force. A perfectly knowing, powerful, loving and happy God cannot grant His Son's request. But his perfectly powerful Son demands it! By demanding that his request be fulfilled the Son is, as it were, making a will different and separate from his Father's. In this sense He is denying his Creator—and his Self.
So what happens? The next line says, "And the peace of God's Son was shattered"(10:5). Oh, no! Disaster! Peace shattered! This means that a part of the Son's Mind split off from oneness with Itself and thus with the Mind of God as well. And why was his peace shattered?
"For he no longer understood his Father"(10:5). His Father is perfectly loving, but the Son made him unloving. If the Son thinks his Father is unloving, when in truth He is really loving, then he "no longer understands his Father."
I said that the mind of God's Son split when he attempted to accomplish his wish to create something on his own, apart from his Creator. This implies that when his mind and will is wholly one with God's Mind and Will, the Son is at peace. His peace lies in this Oneness. In fact, every aspect of his perfection lies in his oneness with his Father, including his creating in union with his Father.
Here is an example where one's understanding of the Course's overall teaching (presented in the Text, Workbook, Manual, Clarification of Terms, and the two pamphlets) plays a part in interpreting particular passages, and specifically this line about the peace of God's Son being shattered. Based on the Course's overall teachings about the mind, its activity, its thought, and its state, we can say with confidence that in attempting to create on his own, separate from his Creator, the mind of God's Son split.
The part that split off is referred to as "the separated mind of God's Son", or "a separated one", as the Course puts it when it refers to "the separated ones".
How this separated mind of God's Son itself came to be split between the Holy Spirit and the ego, and came to be using a human body, is a later part of the story. What we have discussed here merely tells how it began, namely, "You were at peace until you asked for special favor. And God did not give it."
The rest of the story is continued in Chapter 8, and discussed further in Chapter 9, of God, Self, and Evil: A Miracle Theodicy.
Excerpted with some editing from God, Self, and Evil :A Miracle Theodicy
©Robert J. Hellmann, 2002