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Problems of Humanity - Chapter V - The Problem of the Churches
5. The Divine Approaches

To all these above truths, essential to human unfoldment, must be added another. This truth is only as yet dimly sensed because it is a larger truth than any hitherto presented to the consciousness of mankind. It is larger because it is related to the Whole and not to individual man alone and his personal salvation. It is an extension of the individual approach to truth. Let us call it the truth concerning the great Cyclic Approaches of the divine to the human; of these all world Saviors and Teachers are the symbol and the guarantee. At certain great moments down the ages, God drew nearer to His people and humanity at the same time made great, though oft unconscious efforts to draw near to God. From one angle, it might be regarded as God transcendent recognizing God immanent, and God in man reaching out to God in the Whole and greater than the Whole. On the part of God, working through the Head of the spiritual Hierarchy and its Membership, this effort was intentional, conscious and deliberate; on the part of man, it has been in the past largely unconscious, forced upon humanity by the tragedy of circumstances, by desperate need and by the driving urge of the immanent Christ consciousness.

These great Approaches can be traced down the centuries; each time one took place, it meant a clearer understanding of divine purpose, a new and fresh revelation of divine quality, the institution of some aspect of a new world faith and the sounding of a note which produced a new civilization and culture or a fresh recognition of relationship between God and man or man and his brother.

Back in the dim past of history (hinted at through symbolism and in the Bibles of the world) there was a first major Approach when God took notice of man and [150] something happened - under the action and will of God the Creator, God transcendent - which affected primeval man, and he "became a living soul". As the yearning urge towards an undefined and unrealized good made itself felt in the inchoate longings of unthinking man (literally unthinking at that stage), it evoked a response from Deity; God drew near to man and man became imbued with that life and energy which, as time went by, would enable him to recognize himself as a son of God and eventually to express that sonship perfectly This Approach was signalized by the appearance of the faculty of mind in man. In man was planted the embryonic power to think, to reason and to know. The universal Mind of God was reflected in the tiny mind of man.

Later, we are told, when the mental powers of the early humanity warranted it, another Approach between God and man, between the spiritual Hierarchy and humanity, became possible and the door into the Kingdom of God was opened. Man learned that the way into the Holy Place could be entered through love. To the mental principle was added - again by the force of invocation and responsive evocation - another divine attribute or principle, the principle of love.

These two great Approaches made it possible for the human soul to express or manifest two aspects of divinity: Intelligence and Love. Intelligence today is flowering through knowledge and science; it has, however, not yet unfolded on any large scale its latent beauty of wisdom; love today is only just beginning to engross human attention; its lowest aspect, Goodwill, is only now being recognized as a divine energy and is still a theory and a hope.

The Buddha came embodying in Himself the divine quality of wisdom; He was the manifestation of Light, and the Teacher of the way of enlightenment. He [151] demonstrated in Himself the processes of illumination and became "the Illumined One". Light, wisdom, reason, as divine yet human attributes, were focused in the Buddha. He challenged the people to tread the Path of Illumination of which wisdom, mental perception and the intuition are aspects.

Then came the next great Teacher, the Christ. He embodied in Himself a still greater divine principle - greater than the Mind, that of Love; yet at the same time, He embraced within Himself all that the Buddha had of light. Christ was the expression of both light and love. Christ also brought to human attention three deeply necessary concepts:

  1. The extreme value of the individual son of God and the necessity for intense spiritual effort.
  2. The opportunity, presented to humanity, to take a great step forward and undergo the new birth.
  3. The method whereby a man could enter into the kingdom of God, voiced for us in His words, "Love your neighbor as yourself". Individual effort, group opportunity and identification with each other - such is the message of the Christ.

Thus we have had four great Approaches of the divine to the human - two major Approaches and two lesser Approaches. These lesser Approaches made clear to us the true nature of the great Approaches and showed us how that which was conferred in the far distant history of the race constitutes a divine heritage and the seed of ultimate perfection.

A fifth great Approach is now possible and will take place when humanity has put its house in order. A new revelation is hovering over mankind and for it the previous four Approaches have prepared humanity. A new heaven and a new earth are on their way. The words "a new Heaven" signify an entirely new conception as to the world of spiritual realities and perhaps of [152] the very nature of God Himself. May it not be possible that our present ideas of God as the Universal Mind, as Love and as Will may be enriched by some new idea and quality for which we have as yet no name or word and of which we have not the faintest understanding? Each of the three concepts as to the nature of divinity - mind, love and will - were entirely new when first presented to humanity.

What this fifth Approach will bring to humanity we do not and cannot know. It will surely bring as definite results in the human consciousness as did the earlier Approaches. For some years now, the spiritual Hierarchy of our planet has been drawing nearer to humanity and its approach is responsible for the great concepts of freedom which are so close to the hearts of men everywhere. The dream of brotherhood, of fellowship, of world cooperation and of a peace, based on right human relations, is becoming clearer in our minds. We are also visioning a new and vital world religion, a universal faith which will have its roots in the past, but which will make clear the new dawning beauty and the coming vital revelation.

Of one thing we can be sure, this fifth Approach will in some war - deeply spiritual, yet wholly factual - prove the truth of the immanence of God and will prove also the close relationship between God transcendent and God immanent, for both expressions of God are true.

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