Is It Impossible to Obey the Ten Commandments?
Luke 15:8, 9 – Either what woman having ten pieces of silver, if she lose one piece, does not light a candle, and sweep the house and seek diligently till she find it? And when she hath found it, she calleth her friends and her neighbours together, saying, Rejoice with me; for I have found the piece which I had lost.
The Letter of the Law operates in the realm of the relative
I feel that the reason why some people resist and wind up disobeying the Ten Commandments is because they feel that they are suppose to obey the Ten Commandments, especially if they are Jewish or Christians. There just seems to be something about mortal minded man that resists being obedient to God. This resistance seems to go back to the allegory of Adam when he disobeyed the Lord God Jehovah and ate the forbidden fruit from the tree of knowledge. He knew he was told not to eat this fruit but he could not help eating it when being tempted by the serpent (his physical nervous system). And men must begin to admit to themselves that Adam’s temptation came from his own weakness, he could have refused to eat the fruit, so stop blaming women for the fall of man!
The Ten Commandments are God’s Laws, and what has happened is that scholastic theology (via religion) has not explained the Ten Commandments very well to the people. Most people view the Ten Commandments incorrectly, they feel as if they are supposed to obey them or else they are breaking that Law and perhaps (depending upon your religion) you will go to hell (prison) for it, or be punished in some way. This is because man is trying to follow the Letter of the Law in his relative life while ignoring, or not taking into account, the Spirit of the Law, the absolute viewpoint of his Life as being already perfect.
Of course our court systems exist today and usually arrest people who have broken a few of these Commandments, like “Thou shalt not steal” and “Thou shalt not kill.” Usually the system arrests guilty parties, sometimes innocent people get arrested too. But if we all obeyed the First Commandment our prison cells would be empty.
Basically it all comes down to a limited viewpoint of the Ten Commandments – the Ten Laws that were written in stone. So, the limited mortal mind feels that either it is impossible to obey these Ten Commandments with its Letter of the Law, or else they feel as if they should not have to obey these Ten Commandments. Which one do you feel is true about you? Perhaps you feel as if you do follow and obey the Ten Commandments every day. If so, then I congratulate you! I think that where the problem arises with the Ten Commandments has to do with the interpretation of the word – “shalt.” In the relative viewpoint “shalt” means: “You had better not break this Law, or else you will be in big trouble.”
The Spirit of the Law operates in the realm of the absolute
Let us interpret the word “shalt” in a different way, in its absolute way, as “cannot.” Think of it this way, “Thou cannot kill.”
“What? Are you crazy, you author you? I could go out and buy a gun and shoot whomever I wanted to and that would be that. Not that I would do that because I am a nice person. But if I really wanted to I could kill anyone or anything and get by with breaking this Law and there is nothing you could do about it because you cannot keep that person from being dead!”
It is only on the relative level that the Commandment says, “You had better not kill.” But on the absolute level it really says, “Thou cannot kill.” What do I mean by this? Well, Mary Baker Eddy gave us the absolute statement that death is an illusion. Mary Baker Eddy always wrote the Truth, the absolute Truth and the relative truth. So if Mary Baker Eddy wrote that death is an illusion she meant it. Because death is an illusion then it must also be an illusion if we think that we have killed someone or something. That person, that we may believe to be dead, is not dead. We may bury them six feet under, but the real them is still walking around on earth. Not as a ghost, but as the idea that they are. In the absolute man is idea and that idea can never be destroyed. If God created a man then that man can only be destroyed if God were to destroy him. But God does not want to destroy that man because God Loves Her creation, Her revelation of idea. It is only in the murderer’s limited vision on the relative level that the person he believes he killed is now invisible to his limited finite senses. I do not mean that we should kill anyone in the relative because in the absolute we cannot kill anyone. I mean that we should obey the Commandments in the relative at all times but also realize what the absolute really means.
Let me explain, and this is a true story. To material belief my parent’s dog died. Soon after his supposed death my parents came over to visit. I was not really thinking about the dog’s death when I saw my parents and the dog at my front door. It was only when the thought came to me that the dog had died that the dog disappeared! He had been there before that mortal minded erroneous thought came to me. It is belief that keeps us from seeing those that we believe have died.
In the book of Job, Job is told that his whole family is dead, but Job never really saw their dead bodies. So were they really dead, or was he told a lie about them that he temporarily believed was true? Perhaps it was all just a mesmeric suggestion to get him to believe that his family was gone?
Did Jesus die? Yes, Jesus died on the cross in the relative, however, if Jesus had died in the absolute he could never have resurrected the body known as Jesus. It was the consciousness of Jesus that could not be killed, and it was his Christ Mind that resurrected the body. Jesus had to die on the cross so that he could prove the illusion of death through the resurrection of the body recognized as being Jesus the human. Did the enemies of Christ Jesus care that they broke the Commandment – “Thou shalt not kill”? I think they did because they manipulated Pilot into doing their dirty work, yet, they believed Jesus to be a blasphemer so they felt they had moral justice to uphold their religious law and that excused them, or allowed them, to put Jesus to death and have a clear conscious. These religious men really believed in the reality of death, if they had understood Life they would never have attempted to kill Jesus. They totally believed that they could kill someone. Proof of this is in the fact that they asked Pilot to place a Roman guard outside the tomb, after a huge rock had been rolled into the cave’s opening. They were literally afraid that his disciples, all but one whom had deserted Jesus at the time of his arrest, would steal the dead body and claim that Jesus had resurrected.
Another strange occurrence happened with a family dog. When I was about in third or fourth grade we had a puppy named Skater, but we had to give him back to my cousin’s family. They, in turn, gave him to another family (another family of cousins). This family moved away for about a year. When they returned to town we went over to my grandparent’s house to see Skater. When I saw the dog he looked exactly as he had the last time I had seen him. Within a day or two I was again at my grandparent’s house, but when I saw Skater I said to my mom and aunt, “What is Yapper doing here?” Yapper was Skater’s mother. They told me that it was Skater not Yapper. “But, he did not look like this the other night.” They informed me that he had looked like that the other night. What had happened? Was I young enough that the laws of physics did not work on me? My brother, who was also there, tended to agree with me, that Skater had been smaller in size the first time we saw him. Had my brother and I just seen the dog as we expected him to look? Was it really our imagination? Was it something called Change Blindness? Or had our viewpoints as children been based upon the absolute idea what we originally knew to be our dog rather based upon the relative viewpoint of age and adulthood? One thing I will say, the night we saw Skater I felt great love for him. I was so happy to see him. I still felt like he was my dog. Yet, when I saw him grown up I was willing to let go of him, I no longer wanted him to be my dog. And perhaps that is the real reason why my viewpoint changed. Perhaps it changed because it was necessary for me to go through that experience so that I would be willing to let go of the dog. Because not much longer my uncle found Skater a new home and I would never see him again. And this is the way God works. God finds a way for us to be able to give up people or animals in a gradual and easy way. At least, this is how it has always happened with me. The changes or transitions have always been harmonious.
One more thought upon the topic: Was my perception of Skater based upon a physical law or a spiritual law? Had God presented the spiritual law of idea to me during the night with our reunited meeting, and then presented the physical law of matter to me during the daytime encounter? I had never forgotten this experience, so it actually meant something to me. It was not a matter of me imagining something incorrectly; it was an experience that I questioned. I asked questions about it and I wanted answers to those questions. It was an experience that spoke to me and told me that the physical world is an illusion and your physical senses are not to be trusted.
The first Commandment, the most important Commandment of them all is, “Thou shalt have no [you cannot have any] other gods beside me [Mind, Principle].” This is an absolute Truth, God’s true Law. There is only one Mind. Mortal mind is an illusion, an unreality – a non-truth. The only mind there is in reality is divine Mind, the Mind of God, and it is this Mind that man reflects. It was this Mind that made it possible for me to see a dog believed to be dead and it was this Mind that made it possible for me to see my puppy one last time before letting go. It is this Mind that instructs me and provides me with absolute spiritual perception. There is no such thing as extra sensory perception there is only absolute spiritual perception. This is how I know things without doubt; this is how I know facts that I have not been told. This is how I know which door, or curtain, to pick on Let’s Make a Deal! This is how I knew a friend’s middle name when he refused to tell me what it was. The key is being able to trust the idea that comes to you and accepting it.
We may wonder how Jesus Christ knew all that he did, for they said that he was not a well-educated man. Jesus did not have to go to school to learn anything, because he was so in tune with divine Mind. Jesus was one with Mind, he reflected divine Mind at all times. Perhaps he was so in tune to Mind because he had only one physical parent? But it is true that Jesus knew what he knew because he listened to God, Mind. If God knows All then man, as God’s reflection, man as God’s idea, must also be privy to all that Mind knows. And it is this knowing that is absolute spiritual perception. It is this type of knowing that comes from eating (mentally digesting) the fruit from the tree of life. Science and Health with Key to the Scriptures, by Mary Baker Eddy, is the tree of life with its leaves (pages) for the healing of the nations. And remember that it tells us the absolute Truth “death is an illusion.”
The above parable from Luke 15 is of vital importance, because it points to a specific woman, the woman God-crowned, Mary Baker Eddy. She “earnestly and persistently swept her mental house to find that ‘lost’ commandment, its lost meaning. In 1866 she found it, and she called her friends and neighbors together for joy. She did not keep her lamp under a bushel but continued to search; she was not content with only nine commandments understood, she had to have ten. The First Commandment always had belonged to her and to humanity, but only through Mrs. Eddy, the woman, did its demonstrable meaning appear, and this revealed the fulness of the other nine.” (MARY BAKER EDDY The Prophetic and Historical Perspective; by Paul R. Smillie, p. 100) Paul Smillie also explains that the woman and her candle is a “lady with a lamp.” (The original Sentinel cover depicts two lady’s with lamps.) He also makes it clear that the ten pieces of silver “belonged to her, and no belief of loss could separate her from them.” The number ten for the coins was on purpose. Jesus was speaking of the Ten Commandments in this parable.
“Our precious Leader,” Smillie writes, “has spoken of the First Commandment as her favorite text, but why? Could it be that this lost piece of silver took a longer and more difficult search and required the ultimate in spiritual growth to find it? On page 23 of Miscellaneous Writings we read, ‘It is plain that the Me spoken of in the First Commandment, must be Mind; for matter is not the Christian’s God, and is not intelligent.’ Continuing on page 24 she says:
“‘This knowledge came to me in an hour of great need; and I give it to you as death-bed testimony [February 4, 1866] to the daystar that dawned on the night of material sense. This knowledge is practical, for it wrought my immediate recovery from an injury caused by an accident, and pronounced fatal by the physicians. On the third day thereafter, I called for my Bible, and opened it at Matthew ix. 2. As I read, the healing Truth dawned upon my sense; and the result was that I rose, dressed myself, and ever after was in better health than I had before enjoyed.’
“Miscellaneous Writings 24:4-14″
One day I felt as if a cold was coming on. I went to work anyway. It was a summer day, and there was not much going on at work so I spent time in prayer. I was reading the Ten Commandments and I came to the one about bearing false witness against thy neighbor. That was the same time that it hit me that it was impossible to really break the Law when seen from the level of the absolute. I then realized that I was included in that good neighbor policy. It was mortal mind bearing false witness against me telling me that I was ill with a cold. I realized that this was false testimony, being held on the level of the relative. It was then that I fully understood that it was impossible for me to bear false witness against myself. All symptoms of the cold immediately vanished. If I had allowed the cold to continue its course I would have been breaking the Ten Commandments on the level of the relative. And I would have been the one to suffer (to permit) illness into my experience. I would have been a blasphemer – breaker of the Law on the level of the relative.
That same year a co-worker came in. He was a little late to work. He called the police and told them that his car had been towed away, even though he was legally parked. He did not know what the tow company was, he just was walking to work when he saw his car being towed, he even pursued them for a short time on foot, yelling, “Hey, that’s my car!” He told us that his passenger door stuck. Well, I felt I should pray about the situation. And I applied the same ideas about theft with the Commandment, “Thou shalt not steel.” A couple days went by and his car was still missing. I continued to pray. Then early one morning, before getting up to leave for work, the thought came to me, “The car will be returned and the door will be fixed.” I felt that God had spoken to me and that was the Truth. I had forgotten about this when my co-worker came in and said, “My car is back on the street where I had parked it and the door does not stick anymore.” I never told my co-worker that I had been praying about it.
I had other instances where I had worked on theft, or missing items. Once a cricket led me to a lost ring. I was led to find an ear ring in the grass after praying about it. At work when I went to pick up an equipment order there was a missing tape recorder. I was led to pray about this, I walked outside on a break and just allowed myself to go where God was leading me. I sat down and prayed. The thought came to me, “Turn around.” I did and I just saw a student. I closed my eyes again and the same thought came to me just as I heard a noise, “Turn around.” I turned around and saw a woman walking into a house, upon the sidewalk directly in back of me was the missing tape recorder. I picked it up and went into the house to speak to the woman. She was on the phone so I waited for her to end the call and then I introduced myself to her. She explained that she had asked my acting supervisor if she could keep the tape recorder for a week. So I got her information and told her I would be back to get it when she was ready. After this meeting this woman did not want anyone else to set up her equipment, she only wanted me to do it. But what made me happy is that I had demonstrated the Truth and God had led me the whole time, I was grateful for that. Another time I went to pick up an order that had not been picked up the night before. Everything was there except for one item. I prayed about this too, and it took a few days, but finally a student came around and told me that he had found that particular item and had tried to bring it by but I was always gone. I did have to leave a lot to go deliver and pick up equipment. So we set up a meet and he brought it back. Once I went to pick up a record player in a rather small building. I looked everywhere for it, but it was not to be seen. The guy who worked nights came in for a meeting and he told me that he would go over and look for the record player after he arrived on campus. When I saw him at the meeting he said, “I did not see the record player. God only knows where it’s at!” That was all I needed, I said to myself, he is right, God does know where it is at. I told him I would go back over there and look again. I did, and there it was in plain sight.
It is not impossible to obey the Ten Commandments when we understand that they are really Truths being told about us. Can the image you see in the mirror of yourself do something you do not do? Can it move if you do not move? No. It is the same way when it comes to the divine Law that tells us that man reflects God. There is not one thing that man can do if God does not do it, and God never breaks His-Her own Commandments. It may appear that we can break God’s Commandments on the relative level, but it really is an illusion.
The Two Sides of the Ten Commandments
There are two STELLA stones for the original Ten Commandments, was this to separate the two in a certain way, so that we could understand them in a clearer way? The first stone of the first five Commandments would have dealt with man’s relationship to God while the second stone for Commandments six through ten would have dealt with man’s relationship with man. The First and Tenth Commandments would be our foundation, our stepping stone. We would move up and have Two and Nine relating to each other, Three and Eight with each other, Four and Seven together, and finally Five and Six together. It would look like the diagram below, a pyramid structure of the Ten Commandments, as follows:
THE TEN COMMANDMENTS
given to Moses, and their
given to the Children of Israel by their Mother in Israel [Mary Baker Eddy]
1. “Thou shalt have no other gods before me.” (Ex 20:3)
1. “True creation. One God, one Mind, one cause, one creator.” (DCC 232:34)
2. “Thou shalt not make unto thee any graven image, or any likeness of any thing that is in heaven above, or that is in the earth beneath, or that is in the water under the earth: Thou shalt not bow down thyself to them, nor serve them: for I the Lord thy God am a jealous God, visiting the iniquity of the fathers upon the children unto the third and fourth generation of the that hate me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me; and shewing mercy unto thousands of them that love me, and keep my commandments.”
2. “False creation. Mortal mind forms its own concepts and fears or loves them.”
3. “Thou shalt not take the name of the Lord thy God in vain; for the Lord will not hold him guiltless that taketh his name in vain.”
3. “Creation. Scholastic theology takes God’s name in vain by believing His creation is both material and spiritual. As there is but one creator, there is but one creation.”
4. “Remember the sabbath day, to keep it holy. Six days shalt thou labour, and do all thy work: but the seventh day is the sabbath of the Lord thy God: in it thou shall not do any work, thou, nor thy son, nor thy daughter, thy manservant, nor thy maidservant, nor thy cattle, nor thy stranger that is within thy gates: For in six days the Lord made heaven and earth, the sea, and all that in them is, and rested the seventh day: wherefore the Lord blessed the sabbath day, and hallowed it.”
4. “Reign of harmony.”
5. “Honour thy father and thy mother: that thy days may be long upon the land which the Lord thy God giveth thee.”
6. “Thou shalt not kill.”
6. “Christ. By reflecting our Father-Mother God, thereby uniting in one consciousness the male and female, the Christ is born, which reveals man as eternal.”
7. “Thou shalt not commit adultery.”
7. “Unity. Knowing that we reflect the male and female, we must not adulterate this idea by supposing that each of God’s children is not complete, infinite. Seeing this purity, we are partakers of the marriage supper of the Lamb, the unity of man with the spiritual idea.”
8. “Thou shalt not steal.”
8. “Individuality. Mortal mind cannot steal from our individuality by making us suppose personality, or any phase of matter, has power to give to, or take away from God’s idea, anything.”
9. “Thou shalt not bear false witness against thy neighbor.”
9. “Love. ‘Love thy neighbor as thyself.’ See the spiritual idea.”
10. “Thou shalt not covet thy neighbour’s house, thou shalt not covet thy neighbor’s wife, nor his manservant, nor his maidservant, nor his ox, nor his ass, nor any thing that is thy neighbour’s.”
10. “Fulfillment. Love gives us all things.”
On December 27, 1903 Mrs. Eddy gave another message to the Children of Israel. She wrote:
I thank you, dear ones, for your kind remembrance of me — the most lone and perhaps the most loved and hated of earth! May you watch and pray that you keep the Commandments, and live the Sermon in the Mount this coming year. Watch, too, that you keep the commandments that experience has compelled to be written for your guidance and the safety of Christian Science, in our Church Manual.” (DCC 128:33)