You can’t get into heaven with a bruised testicle

I am referring to the words in Deuteronomy 23:1 which read:

He that is bruised with a bruising, or is bruised in the testicle, shall not come into the congregation of Jehovah . . .

What many don’t understand is that this biblical passage is a warning to all people. Even a woman is not spared from such a predicament. People of all genders must guard their “testicles” from being bruised or injured.

Of course, the biblical passage quoted above does not make sense theologically. The condition of a person’s testicles cannot have anything to do with the quality and sincerity of one’s faith. And surely, God’s Infinite Wisdom and Holy Word would not discriminate.

So what gives here?

The passage actually contains a deeper meaning than the literal words convey. This deeper meaning deals with the human psycho-spiritual condition – not the condition of one’s physical genitals.

We should not be surprised that physical things can be used to express mental things. We use this form of symbolic communication all the time and quite instinctively.

For instance, when a man is being bold, he is called “ballsy.” This expression is also used for a woman who tends to be assertive—especially around men. Politics and gender issues aside, “having balls” confers a higher psychological meaning.

Testicles produce seed in the same way that the human will generates a point of view. Testicles correspond to the prolific principle in both male and female minds. Having a “bruised testicle” symbolizes someone with an impaired or faulty belief-system.

Doesn’t it make more theological sense that faulty thinking and wrong beliefs would keep a person from joining Jehovah’s congregation than a sports accident or getting kicked in the groin would?

Many post-modern thinkers correctly reject the literal (corporeal/sensual) messages of Scripture because they often communicate obvious injustices. This has led to radical pluralism in biblical interpretation. Today, there is a big shift towards interpreting Scripture in one’s own way and finding the meaning that best fits into the modern world.

But this method of subjective biblical interpretation can lead to a person getting kicked in the “groin.” Theological mistakes and faulty ideas about faith can be prevented only when one understands that the Bible is a multi-dimensional document and written in the language of correspondences. In other words, the historical and prophetical narratives of God’s Holy Word contain corresponding spiritual meanings, abstracted from the literal sense of the words.

Knowing this provides scientific precision to gaining a deeper understanding of Scripture, rather than relying on one’s subjective judgment to keep Scripture relevant.

Biblical interpretation without knowing these deeper Holy things, however, is like playing sports without adequate protection.



About thegodguy

EDWARD F. SYLVIA, M.T.S. Philosopher/Theologian Edward F. Sylvia attended the School of Visual Arts in New York and received his Master of Theological Studies at the Pacific School of Religion in Berkeley, CA and a Certificate of Swedenborgian Studies from the Swedenborgian House of Studies. He is a member of the Center for Theology and the Natural Sciences (C.T.N.S.) and the Swedenborg Scientific Association (S.S.A.). Award-winning author of "Sermon From the Compost Pile: Seven Steps Toward Creating An Inner Garden" and "Proving God," which fulfills a continuing vision that God’s fingerprints of love can be found everywhere in the manifest universe. His most recent book, "Swedenborg & Gurdjieff: The Missing Links" is an edgy collection of anti-intuitive essays for personal transformation that challenges and inspires. He has been a student of the ideas of both Emanuel Swedenborg and George I. Gurdjieff for over thirty years. Read more about TheGodGuy, his books and his ideas at
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17 Responses to You can’t get into heaven with a bruised testicle

  1. lucymac says:

    I understand what you are saying about the Bible being wrongly interpreted. My own understanding of the Bible is that it has a certain polarity. It holds the key to enlightenment while it also holds the key to ignorance. The difference is in the way it is read and interpreted.The clues are in the words, the Truth can be found within the message between the lines.

  2. thegodguy says:

    Dear lucymac,

    I am glad that you look beyond the literal words of Holy Scripture. But God’s revealed wisdom goes much deeper than looking between the lines.

    The Bible is a multi-dimensional document with layers of meaning built into its Holy architecture. Each layer contains a discrete new narrative that is fully coherent and reveals more doctrinal details about God, faith, and the human predicament.

    These higher levels of meaning are based on interpretation through the knowledge of CORRESPONDENCES whereby literal words and their terrestrial meanings become abstracted into their psycho-spiritual equivalent.

    For instance, when one applies the knowledge of correspondences to the Seven-day Creation story of Genesis one discovers that it’s higher level interpretation actually addresses the steps by which the human race can achieve spiritual evolution (epigenesis). The garden of Eden represents living in a state of innocence and wisdom. The Genesis story is actually played out within the hearts and minds of men and women who seek God and spiritual growth.

    Thank you for your response.

    Spiritually yours,

  3. Ketutar says:

    Actually, this one is literal. It means that eunuchs are not welcome in Judaism. It doesn’t refer to accidents, but intentional self-mutilation.

  4. thegodguy says:

    Dear Ketutar,

    Intentional self mutilation finds its greatest severity and damage in the human heart and mind when God’s tenets are resisted. All things in Scripture refer to our inner spirits. Please don’t underestimate God’s Infinite ability to express truth on many levels.

    Spiritually yours,

  5. SillyOldBear says:

    The pasuk (verse) in Devarim 23:1(2 in JPS) is meant LITERALLY – just as Ketutar says. Any MAN who has had their genitals mutilated either by their own will or by others cannot become an Israelite – i.e convert to Judaism, join the Jewish People. This has nothing to do with ‘heaven’ or being ‘spiritual’ – this is singularly about the fact that in Judaism – and whatever people say; Torah and Tanakh (Hebrew Bible) is concerned ONLY with the conduct of the Jewish People – it is the male’s obligation to procreate, not the female’s. Torah is all about ACTION, not about thoughts or beliefs or feelings. Also, circumcision is only performed on males, as a requirement for joining the Jewish People and become Jewish and if there is nothing to circumcise, Torah says that they can’t join. But they can pray, they can bind themselves to G-d, be His servants and they are as welcome as any Jew.

    Yeshiyahu (Isaiah) 56:1-8 is clear evidence that the ‘interpretation’ you give this pasuk is faulty:

    Thus saith the LORD: Keep ye justice, and do righteousness; for My salvation is near to come, and My favour to be revealed.
    Happy is the man that doeth this, and the son of man that holdeth fast by it: that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and keepeth his hand from doing any evil.
    Neither let the alien, that hath joined himself to the LORD, speak, saying: ‘The LORD will surely separate me from His people’; neither let the eunuch say: ‘Behold, I am a dry tree.’
    For thus saith the LORD concerning the eunuchs that keep My sabbaths, and choose the things that please Me, and hold fast by My covenant:
    Even unto them will I give in My house and within My walls a monument and a memorial better than sons and daughters; I will give them an everlasting memorial, that shall not be cut off.
    Also the aliens, that join themselves to the LORD, to minister unto Him, and to love the name of the LORD, to be His servants, every one that keepeth the sabbath from profaning it, and holdeth fast by My covenant:
    Even them will I bring to My holy mountain, and make them joyful in My house of prayer; their burnt-offerings and their sacrifices shall be acceptable upon Mine altar; for My house shall be called a house of prayer for all peoples.
    Saith the Lord GOD who gathereth the dispersed of Israel: Yet I will gather others to him, beside those of him that are gathered.

    Further more King Solomon’s Dedicational Prayer (Melahkim Alef/1 Kings 8:41-43) for the First Temple says:

    Moreover concerning the stranger that is not of Thy people Israel, when he shall come out of a far country for Thy name’s sake- – for they shall hear of Thy great name, and of Thy mighty hand, and of Thine outstretched arm – when he shall come and pray toward this house; hear Thou in heaven Thy dwelling-place, and do according to all that the stranger calleth to Thee for; that all the peoples of the earth may know Thy name, to fear Thee, as doth Thy people Israel, and that they may know that Thy name is called upon this house which I have built.

    Naturally each is allowed to have their own understanding – but there are more or less probable ‘interpretations’ of Torah – and yours is very improbable, especially since it is a gross violation of the SPIRIT of Torah, which also says “”You shall not curse the deaf nor place a stumbling block before the blind; you shall fear your God – I am your Lord.” – i.e don’t make life harder for people who are already in a hard situation. Those who are in need of being taught about “faulty thinking and wrong beliefs” will not hear, because they don’t think they need it, and those who are already circumcised in their hearts, but in doubt of their worth to G-d, will increase their doubt through needless self-examination and spiritual self-flagellation. I.e they will stumble on the block you just put in front of them.

    Micah 6:6-8

    Mic 6:6 ‘Wherewith shall I come before the LORD, and bow myself before God on high? Shall I come before Him with burnt-offerings, with calves of a year old?
    Mic 6:7 Will the LORD be pleased with thousands of rams, with ten thousands of rivers of oil? Shall I give my first-born for my transgression, the fruit of my body for the sin of my soul?’
    Mic 6:8 It hath been told thee, O man, what is good, and what the LORD doth require of thee: only to do justly, and to love mercy, and to walk humbly with thy God.

  6. thegodguy says:

    Dear silly old bear,

    Thanks for sharing your knowledge with my readers. However, I had to break out in a little giggle. You see, the symbolic meaning of a “bear” in Scripture is the literal sense of God’s Holy Word SEPARATE from its internal or deeper spiritual meaning. Amazing that you would pick such a name!

    Spiritually yours,

  7. “All things in Scripture refer to our inner spirits. “

    I respectfully disagree. So does the majority of people with any knowledge of the Scriptures, Judaism and world history. Torah isn’t concerned with our inner spirits, but with our conduct. Torah doesn’t split us into inner and outer. As G-d is One and Indivisible, so is Human One and Indivisible as Human is created in G-d’s image.

    “the symbolic meaning of a “bear” in Scripture is the literal sense of God’s Holy Word SEPARATE from its internal or deeper spiritual meaning. “

    Oh… what ever makes you believe this?
    There are a few references to bears in the Hebrew Bible, and not once can those be understood as anything but references to actual bears. The symbolic meaning you assign to bears doesn’t even fit the passages!

    When the ‘bear’ is referred to or described in Torah/Tanakh it’s as a just deliverer of retribution for sins committed either against G-d or other humans or as something preferable to meet when compared to a fool. – Shmuel B/2 Sam 17:8; Mishlei/Pro 17:12, ; 28:15; Hoshea/Hos 13:8 or as something preferable to meet compared to a fool.

    As I said in my previous comment: “Naturally each is allowed to have their own understanding – but there are more or less probable ‘interpretations’ of Torah…”

    Unless one KNOWS the origin, context and purpose of any given text in Torah and Tanakh one cannot give an accurate account of Its meaning, and one will, while perhaps aiding oneself (as G-d speaks differently to each of us) ultimately lead others astray from the simple, plain truths of Torah.

    It’s really simple. Torah speaks to our conduct here and now – the reward is here and now. There is no Heaven or even Afterlife in Torah. We live, we die and we are no more. Like the grass. The reward for conducting ourselves according to what Torah teaches (summarized in Vayikra/Leviticus 19:18 and Micah 6:8) is the continued existence and prosperity of Human (if one reads in a Global Context – of the Jewish People if one reads in a Jewish Context). Torah teaches us that we get ‘there’ by DOING. What we believe is totally irrelevant. What we DO is everything. In fact Torah says that by DOING we will eventually understand the ‘meaning’ of what we do.
    THAT is the reward – not ‘heaven’ or ‘eternal life’.

  8. thegodguy says:

    Dear Silly old bear,

    I respect your sincere interpretation of the Word of God. However, the Word comes to us from heaven – which is beyond time and space. Therefore, any communication coming from this non-physical source must have first existed in a purely spiritual form, abstracted from all terrestrial qualities. When angels read the Holy Word they understand nothing but the purely spiritual meanings of God’s revealed wisdom!

    Spiritually yours,

  9. “the Word comes to us from heaven”.

    To me it seems that Torah disagrees with you – at least if one reads the plain words of It and doesn’t add interpretations and spiritual baggage to It.
    Devarim/Deuteronomy 30:11-14
    For this commandment which I command thee this day, it is not too hard for thee, neither is it far off. It is not in heaven, that thou shouldest say: ‘Who shall go up for us to heaven, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ Neither is it beyond the sea, that thou shouldest say: ‘Who shall go over the sea for us, and bring it unto us, and make us to hear it, that we may do it?’ But the word is very nigh unto thee, in thy mouth, and in thy heart, that thou mayest do it.

    G-d IS. If nothing else, Tehillim/Psalms 139 will tell us that this is true according to Torah and Tanakh. It is clear from the way the words speak of all kinds of places that the author of the Tehilla/Psalm suggests he might go and still G-d would be there.

    When Torah speaks of ‘heaven’ It is speaking of the actual physical ‘sky’ or ‘space’ that we can see if we look at it. It is not speaking of a spiritual, non-physical ‘place’ or ‘situation’ out-side time and space.

    In the Torah that I read, Torah came to us (Globally and Specifically) from G-d, not heaven. Or Moshe would have had to go up to ‘heaven’ to get it, and Torah says he didn’t, (at most he went up a mountain and came down again) – nor was there any need for that – because G-d gave it to us, G-d spoke (if you will from the Mountain to Moshe) and there it was – in our mouths, and in our hearts, so that we might do It.

    Where do you find evidence in Torah that the angels read Torah?

  10. I just wanted to add: I recognize your absolute right to hold whatever opinion and understanding that you have and for you it is right and proper – I am not here to argue, simply sharing what jumps up and bites me when I read your post above:)


  11. thegodguy says:

    Dear Henric,

    I am a follower of the theology of Emanuel Swedenborg. Through his visionary insights he discovered that God’s Holy Word contained three layers of meaning. Swedenborg commented on these interior levels in his twelve volume interpretation of the complete text of Genesis and Exodus (called “Arcana Coelestia”). Since I believe that God is an infinite being with infinite wisdom his communications with humankind must contain a similar depth. God accomplishes this through using layers of meaning. Regardless, Swedenborg claimed that God’s Holy Word finds its fullness in its literal sense – just as our mental ideas find fulness in the actions of our physical bodies. God Bless!

    Spiritually yours,

  12. Jesus says:

    Isn’t this ambiguity, I mean how you pick and choose the “right interpretation” (as opposed to the “incorrect” ones) in the sense that the bible can be interpreted in many different ways, who decides which interpretationn is correct? Why doesn’t god do such a great job of preserving and promoting the “correct interpretations” as he did presenting them to us? Because of this mistake, there are thousands of denominations of Christianity each thinking the holy spirit has guided them to the ‘true’ interpretation of scriptures. And nearly billions of people will go to hell for circumstances they had little or no control over. When you say “The Bible is a multi-dimensional document with layers of meaning built into its Holy architecture. Each layer contains a discrete new narrative that is fully coherent and reveals more doctrinal details about God, faith, and the human predicament. ” Isn’t this a guilty act of being ambiguous?

  13. Michael says:

    This has changed my view on the Scriptures themselves.. at times people point at chapter not reading the words in clarity. I like how you point out the psychological , multidimensional meaning Jehovah’s words have. You have a great understanding amazing article !

    • thegodguy says:

      Dear Michael,

      It is because most of the world is oblivious to the multidimensional meanings of God’s Word that the millenial generation has rejected its importance.

      Spiritually yours,

  14. Michael says:

    That is very true the generation is degrading it self. Into believing that sex, money, and violence is the way of life. It hurts me deep down to see people blindly follow sins as a guidance of living. As time passes it can only get worse but for that we pray. Although we are all sinners. I believe if you truly put your mind and heart into returning the love God had given us unconditionally shown us, we could spread his word and change the ones around us. Every person can make the difference in this corrupt world there is still good.

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