Questions and Answers from Joel

Many of us enjoy the classes in which Joel answers questions from students.  Sometimes the question is one that we ourselves might have asked.  Other times it is one that might not have occurred to us, but which we find interesting, and we are curious about how Joel will answer it.

On this page of our website, on the first and third Saturdays of the month, we will post a new question and answer from one of Joel’s classes or books.  We trust that you will find these interesting, helpful, and sometimes an answer to just what is on your mind.

You can access previously posted questions by clicking on the links at the bottom of this page.

To download or print this Q and A, click here. 

Posted on 7/7/18:

Q:  In your publications you write that God speaks to you, telling what you should teach, and so forth.  If God knows nothing about the human experience, how could He be conscious of one needing light?[1]

A:  God is no more conscious of one needing light than the sunshine is conscious of removing darkness.  All that comes to us as inner light or illumination represents our interpretation  of what is happening.  If I have an inner unfoldment, it comes to me in the English language.  But when a German has it, it comes in German.  When a Frenchman has it, it comes in French, and if a Hindu has it, it comes in his particular language. …

Now, does God speak in English or French or German or Spanish?  Of course not!  As a matter of fact, God doesn’t speak.  When we speak of “God uttereth His voice;” when we speak of “God thunders;” when we speak of “God revealing;” when we speak of Moses “talking” to God and “receiving” the Ten Commandments, do you not see that God is infinite spiritual Being and that a man has reached such a high degree of spiritual consciousness that he stands in that Presence, not understanding it fully, but interpreting it in accord with his own language and his own needs of the moment?

God no more knows that we need light than the sun knows that the earth needs light. But the earth gets in the way of the sun, and the sun shines upon it, and warms it, and fertilizes it, and renews it.  Probably the rain doesn’t know that the earth needs rain, either.  No, no. …

Now, as you come into spiritual awareness, you will receive specific orders, specific instructions, specific teachings.  It is not that God knows your particular need for them, but that God is shining in your consciousness as Life, as Truth, as “the Word.”  That’s “the Word” that’s given in Scripture, as “the Word,” or “the message.”  You interpret that according to your need of the moment.  You may interpret the message one way today and another way tomorrow, and it may be the same message.  But it will be interpreted in the light of your understanding today.

Let us all understand this clearly—there are three thousand translations and interpretations of the Bible.  Why so many?  Because each one who interprets or translates the Bible bases their interpretation on his own understanding of the particular language or of the spiritual sense [he discerns]. …

When Spiritual Interpretation of Scripture came to me, I was reading the book of Ruth and Naomi, which as you know, is a beautiful book and has that wonderful lesson about “entreat me not to leave thee. I will never leave thee. Whithersoever thou goest I will go.”[2]  And as I was reading that book, I thought, “It is a beautiful story, but literally speaking, it can’t be true, because it has no real sense as a story.  It has beauty but it has no sense, no moral, no theme, no reality.  What is the meaning of this?”

And while I was pondering it, all of a sudden the realization came that Naomi had left that which spiritually interpreted means “spiritual consciousness,” and had gone down into materiality, and into a wonderful form of it, a very prosperous form.  She grew rich with farms, with cattle; had a wonderful husband, two sons, and two daughters-in-law.  Oh, materially she prospered abundantly!  Then she loses all this.  Everything is gone and the only thing left to her is an alien daughter-in-law.  Of all the things of no value at all that will cling to a person, it’s an alien daughter-in-law.  [Laughter]

I wouldn’t ordinarily say that about daughters-in-law, but I’m speaking now in this particular sense of an alien daughter-in-law—not one of her own religious faith; not one of her own nation even.  She was purely, outrightly, an alien daughter-in-law.  And it is this alien daughter-in-law that clings to her, the least of all these things.

Now, what do you think—in human consciousness—is the least of all things in the world?  What do you think there is, [according to human consciousness] that is less than anything else that can be conceived of in the human mind?  And I can tell you very quickly—it’s the Christ.  Above all things, the Christ has no value to human sense, to mortal or material consciousness. There is just nothingness-less-nothing.  What would you do with it after you got it?  Because you can’t see it, hear it, taste it, touch it, or smell it.  You can’t go out and exchange it at the bakery shop.  It won’t go out and plow your fields for you.  According to material sense, there you have the very least of these things, the Christ.  And it was the least of these things that clung to Naomi.

Ah, but the very least of these things, what does it do for her when she finally agrees to let it come with her and be with her?  Why it restores her to her spiritual estate and makes her the great-great-grandmother of the Christ. …

Now then, I saw right there in that story that all Scripture must have an interpretation that we do not see from a literal standpoint.  A story can’t be very important that is merely about a daughter-in-law who goes out and gleans in the fields and then marries a rich man.  That would be too much like a modern novel to be Scripture.  Yet, seen in this light, Naomi left spiritual consciousness but never did really lose the Christ.  It was embodied in her, and at the moment of all material loss, it came to light again.  And by recognizing it and taking it with her, she found it to be actually that upon which her entire restoration was built.

Now, does God know anything about that?  Probably not.  That’s our interpretation.  And as a matter of fact, you may read that same story and receive an entirely different interpretation, and it may be one just as satisfactory for our purpose or our work in spiritual living.

In the same way, what is the significance of a thief hanging on a cross in punishment for his evil deeds, and the Master saying, “This night I will take you with me into Paradise”? What is the significance of that?  It must have a deep spiritual significance.  If you only took it literally, what would you have?  Just a good man saying, “Oh, I don’t mind your being crooked.  Come on!  Let’s go to heaven together.”  No, it’s deeper than that.

The lesson in there [with the thief on the cross] is the continuity and completeness of the Master’s teaching: “Neither do I condemn thee.  I do not judge thee.  I find no fault in thee.” It reveals that in the moment of the thief’s turning to the Christ, his entire past is wiped out.  Well, maybe that’s not your interpretation, but that’s the way I see it.  And it is my interpretation of a divine fact, or that which is.  And so it is with all revelation.  Revelation is given to those who, in some degree, have lost their sense of material values and have begun to perceive the hidden values in life.

[1]Excerpt from Recording #63, 1954 Chicago Closed Class, Side 2: “The Word Made Flesh.” This excerpt is posted with kind permission from the Estate of Joel Goldsmith, which holds the copy protection on all of Joel’s recorded classes and the copyright on the class transcripts. The full transcript of this recording is available at www.joelgoldsmith.com or by calling 1-800-922-3195.
[2] Ruth 1:16

Previously Posted Questions and Answers

6/16/18: “If one has a physical problem, what is the best and quickest way to rise above it?”
6/2/18:  “How does one take no thought before receiving spiritual direction?”
5/19/18:  “Please speak about the appearance of change.  I’m trying to overcome the fear of a so-called transition.”
5/5/18:  “Can effective protective treatment be given for another?”
4/21/18:  “What brings us under the government, protection, and healing influence of God?”
4/7/18:  “If we are not to petition God, then of what avail is it to say, ‘God bless a dear one?’
3/17/18:  “How Is the Body to be Regarded?”
3/3/18:  “Please define Soul.”
2/17/18:  “Please explain the loaves and fishes miracle.”
2/3/18:  “How can we help an individual who has taken on the habit of gloom?”
1/20/18:  “How would a truly illumined soul die?  Would they make an ascension?”
1/6/18:  “How do we know if we have received divine guidance?”

To view questions and answers posted in 2017, click here.
To view questions and answers posted in 2016, click here.