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In reading the Bible, I came across this passage in which both phrases seem to be distortions of all we have come to know as the truth and as the basis for mutuality between husband and wife. Can you help me understand this? Also where does the current inside me come from when my life is not lived that way at all?
Matthew 5:32, “But I say unto you, that whosoever shall put away his wife, saving for the cause of fornication, causes her to commit adultery; and whosoever shall marry her that is divorced, commits adultery.”
In the next passage, which is part of Christ’s message to his disciples, I can understand the concern for more than the physical, and not making food, clothes and all that, your focus. However, I do not understand why Christ would say to take no thought for these things, since they seem in direct opposition to all we have learned through your teachings and inner guidance to honor our bodies, to look beautiful when we feel this is an expression of our inner beauty and to cook and eat with love honoring our physical reality and the vessel of our spirit. Can you help me understand this passage: Matthew 6:25, “Therefore I say unto you, take no thought for your life, what ye shall eat, or what ye shall drink, nor yet for your body, what ye shall put on. Is not the life more than meat, and the body more than raiment?”
The Guide: Fornication and adultery in the Bible mean loveless sex, sexual activity that leaves out the being of the partner, that merely uses her – or him, for that matter. As to divorce, many biblical sayings were destined for humanity at that particular time. What was right and important then is no longer valid now.
At that time, people were very split and it was difficult for them – much more difficult than now – to combine the heart with sexuality – to be committed to a relationship and build it painstakingly. The natural tendency then was promiscuity; it was natural and instinctual on the outer level. In order for these instinctual levels to develop, outer rules were then necessary, so that at least attempts could be made to stay together and work out difficulties.
Only when the rules became overpowering and stifling, when the spirit became thwarted by them, and when, at the same time, development had sufficiently proceeded for individuals to comprehend the need to develop partnerships of their own free will, only then could new societal mores be instituted.
The Bible combines sayings that were appropriate only for that specific period of history, with sayings that contained eternal truths – although perhaps often in a veiled form. It requires a great deal of spiritual understanding to sort these out – to distinguish which is which.
As to your second question, again you have to see that Jesus’s saying was appropriate at that time, when people were inclined to be superficial and focus exclusively on the outer level of life. Therefore religion – all religions – had to stress the inner life. Again, the pendulum went too far into the opposite direction. Again, this had its purpose and meaning.
Now it can be righted and hold a position of unified truth. When spirituality totally negated outer life, beauty, feelings, the body and even nature in the surroundings to a degree, mankind became ready to make the unification of this duality, so that inner life could be expressed in outer life. But before this could happen, the awareness of an inner life first had to be cultivated. For that, the focus on the outer life had to be temporarily removed.
Why is it so difficult for people to understand that Jesus spoke to the people of his time, as well as for all eternity? If he could be heard today, many of the things he said then, he would say again, although perhaps in a different way. And instead of many things he said then, he would say now something entirely different. This is why it is so absurd to take the Bible literally.