If you have been a regular reader of my blog then you know that I have had some “energetic” discussions with traditional Christians. These debates centered around whether or not God’s Holy Word contains deeper meanings within the literal sense of its words and stories.
The argument against deeper or higher meanings in Scripture is that it would be in God’s best interests to put forth his lessons to humankind in the most straightforward and easy-to-understand manner.
But if that were the case, why are there so many denominations of Christianity when each takes its doctrine directly from the literal words of Scripture? Some denominations believe in good works, some in salvation by faith alone, while others even embrace the idea of predestination. And they all get their different doctrines from reading the same Sacred Document.
Furthermore, if Scripture is so straightforward, why did the Lord have to augment the cognitive functions of His disciples?
He opened their minds to understand the scriptures. (Luke 24:45)
It is well known to scientists and laypeople alike that we only make use of a small percent of the brain’s amazing capacity. Neuroscientists are even looking into the possibility that within the neuron itself there are deeper substrates that are responsible for the higher functioning of human reason and abstract thought.
If God created the human brain, wouldn’t he address these higher levels of mental activity? In fact, would He not use these higher levels to break through our habitual minds to create and promote a deeper, more personal relationship with each of us?
Such is the deeper message contained in the New Testament story of the Lord taking Peter, James, and John up a mountain to pray (Luke 9:28-36). This mountain climbing excursion took place eight days after He told His disciples that some of them would not taste death before seeing the kingdom of God.
“Eight days” represents the beginning of a new week, but spiritually, represents the beginning of a new perception of God’s truth. This is why the Lord brought His disciples to a mountaintop on this eighth day. The climb represents the Lord trying to lead His disciples to a higher level of understanding and to a new power of perception within their minds.
But at the top of the mountain, the three disciples who are with the Lord are described as first being heavy with sleep. They then wake up and see the Lord as being transformed and glistening white before them, as well as talking to Moses and Elias.
This was not a physical transformation of the Lord. It was a change of perception in the disciples who now had been given a deeper insight into the Lord’s true glory. To “awaken” is to have one’s eyes opened to something new.
Seeing the Lord’s glory involved more than observing him carrying on a conversation with two famous biblical personalities.
Symbolically, Moses represented the historical books of the Holy Word and Elias, the prophetical books. The Lord is the Word from eternity. Therefore, speaking with Moses and Elias represents the Lord intimately communicating through the Holy Word. So seeing the Lord’s true glory is to gain access to this intimate communication—the deeper levels of meaning in the Holy Word.
The three disciples represented the three essentials of religion, which are necessary for one to gain the ability to see the true glory of the Lord—faith, charity, and both put into action, that is, the goodness of faith and charity combined.
But even the disciples enjoyed this higher state of mind only temporarily, and fell back into the perception of their habitual mind, which understands Scripture only literally. This is the reason why Peter, James, and John are described as suddenly being engulfed by a strange “cloud” (right after trying to give Moses and Elias the same status as the Lord). Clouds symbolize mental obscurity concerning spiritual doctrine from a literal interpretation of the Word.
To re-awaken and startle the disciples once again, they next heard a Divine heavenly voice penetrating through this cloud (mental fog) and telling them that it is the Lord alone that they should give their special attention to.
Modern religion has forgotten the importance of mountain climbing with God.